Individuals who know that they have suffered workplace or environmental exposure to asbestos may recognize that they require more careful medical screening than other adults. Communication with healthcare providers about any concerning symptoms as soon as they arise could lead to a quick diagnosis when an individual previously exposed to asbestos develops mesothelioma.
Even when someone knows they are at elevated risk for this deadly cancer that begins in the lining of the organs, it can still be a shock and a source of uncertainty to receive an official diagnosis from a healthcare professional. What can people recently diagnosed with mesothelioma expect from their situation?
Health concerns that may rapidly progress
Mesothelioma often takes multiple decades to develop after someone’s exposure to asbestos. In some people, symptoms may not arise until 30 years after working with asbestos or even longer. Despite the fact that it may take a while to develop initially, the cancer does tend to metastasize or spread relatively quickly. Experts estimate the overall chance of surviving mesothelioma for five years after diagnosis to be roughly 24%, both for those whose cancer has already spread, the rate could be as low as 7%. The longer it takes to secure a diagnosis, the worse the prognosis in many cases.
Limited treatment options
Mesothelioma is a particularly challenging form of cancer to treat. Although new options come out of research laboratories all the time, no one has yet cured mesothelioma or been able to achieve remission in the majority of patients undergoing a specific type of treatment. There are new T-cell therapies and immunotherapies undergoing clinical trials in the United States and abroad.
Currently, there are only a handful of approved treatment options, most of which only reduce symptoms or delay the progress of the cancer rather than likely leading to remission. It could, therefore, cost money out of pocket. Compensation claims brought by those diagnosed with asbestos could help give them access to better treatment options or could allow them to provide support for their loved ones when they can no longer contribute to the household because of their illness.
While there is certainly hope for those with mesothelioma, their condition will likely lead to significant medical and financial challenges. It would be unfair to force individual workers to absorb those burdens on their own. Seeking legal guidance to explore the possibility of filing a claim against a company that exposed a patient to asbestos years ago can be one way to fund medical treatment for mesothelioma effectively.