Malignant mesothelioma, also know as asbestos cancer or simply mesothelioma, is a chronic disease that attacks the body’s organs after asbestos fibers become lodged in the body. Typically, the lungs are affected more often than any other part of the body after the fibers are inhaled. However, other organs, including the abdomen, heart, and more, can also be affected. Senior citizens run the highest risk of developing malignant mesothelioma with a rate of more than double of any other age group, according to Harvard University’s Department of Physics.
Why Senior Citizens are at High Risk
Prior to the early 1980s, asbestos was used in a wide array of job industries. Since asbestos contains fire and heat-resistant properties, it was used for facility insulation as well as in roofs and ceilings, machinery, equipments, car parts, tools, and much more. Unfortunately, millions of workers were exposed to asbestos on a daily basis and therefore ran the risk of ingesting the harmful fibers. In the late 1970s, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implemented strict regulations on asbestos use, and shortly after, it began to phase out of most job sites. Yet, in many instances, the damage had already been done.
The majority of people who worked around asbestos are now senior citizens today. To make matters worse, the symptoms of mesothelioma don’t show up until around 30 to 50 years after asbestos exposure. Even though it was decades ago when someone was around asbestos, many of them are just now finding out about their disease.
Symptoms to Look Out For
The signs and symptoms of mesothelioma closely mimic common upper respiratory illnesses and digestion problems, making diagnosis more difficult. It’s imperative for senior citizens who may have been exposed to asbestos to undergo regular medical checkups. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), symptoms of mesothelioma include:
• Bloating and pain in the abdomen
• Coughing, hacking, and difficulty with breathing
• Unusual weight loss
• Pain in the chest that’s more prominent when taking a deep breath
As previously mentioned, it’s crucial to seek medical help as soon as possible. Although the outcome for victims of mesothelioma is not usually positive, the sooner treatment begins, the better chances senior citizens have of increasing their lifespan.
Legal Options for Mesothelioma Victims
Asbestos companies knew for many years about the devastating illnesses that asbestos exposure causes. However, many companies hid this knowledge, favoring profits over human life.
Large mesothelioma trust funds have been set up for victims of asbestos cancer and asbestos diseases. An experienced mesothelioma lawyer can help you and your family get all the financial compensation you’re entitled to. For more information on your legal options visit MesotheliomaLawyerCenter.org.