Mesothelioma has a long and complicated name, but most researchers agree its cause is relatively simple. The disease, which manifests as a cancer in the tissues surrounding the lungs or the heart, is largely recognized to be associated with exposure to asbestos.
The chalky and crystaline substance has been on markets as a way to prevent fire for many years, but the last half century has seen a lot of regulation on the manufacturing and sales of tiles, panels and tubing that include asbestos. Some countries outside the United States have banned the material entirely.
Although asbestos has disappeared largely from the markets and the factory floors, the risk has not vanished along with it. Forecasters expected a drop in cases of mesothelioma in the new century, but there was a 10% increase in cases of the disease affecting the lungs from 2004 to 2014.
Fortunately, the treatment options for mesothelioma have expanded and improved in the same time period. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved new devices and medications for pleural mesothelioma, which makes up between 70% and 80% of cases recorded in the United States.
Patients with the disease are also undergoing treatment more often as the cases are discovered earlier and more often than before. This may increase the life expectancy of sufferers and increase the application of these new treatments.
A diagnosis of mesothelioma may also come with the right to sue for financial damages against the company or organization responsible for exposing victims to asbestos. Legal representation can help put a claim together.