01/03/2011 // Chicago, IL, USA // Mesothelioma Lawyers – Cooney & Conway // Cooney & Conway

While there is still much about mesothelioma that researchers are trying to understand, one thing is clear: The major risk factor is asbestos exposure. The deadly cancer—almost always caused by inhaling asbestos fibers—can take years, even decades, to develop.

But make no mistake. Mesothelioma is among the most aggressive of cancers, and even the most advanced, radical treatments typically add just months to a patient’s life expectancy. The disease is preventable—given proper warnings, safety precautions, and adherence to strict asbestos regulations—which makes a mesothelioma diagnosis even more tragic.

While symptoms of mesothelioma may not appear for 20, 30, or more years after asbestos exposure, the first signs typically follow a common pattern. These symptoms can include:

• Shortness of breath

• Coughing, wheezing, or hoarseness

• Pain in chest

• Weight loss

• Abdominal swelling

• Bowel obstruction

• Anemia

• Fatigue

• Fever

• Blood clotting abnormalities

Mesothelioma strikes the protective lining that covers many of the body’s internal organs, including the stomach and the heart. If the cancer has spread beyond these linings, symptoms can also include trouble swallowing and swelling of the neck or face.

Because these symptoms can be warning signs for a host of diseases—benign as well as serious—it is important to see a medical professional as soon as they present. A doctor can perform the tests necessary to pinpoint the cause of discomfort. Given the link between asbestos exposure and mesothelioma, patients should inform their medical practitioner if they have had a history of working with or around asbestos—or even coming in contact with the material.

While many mesothelioma patients held jobs that put them in close contact with asbestos, even short-duration asbestos exposure has been sufficient to trigger diseases like mesothelioma. If mesothelioma is suspected, a doctor can order additional tests—including CT scans and X-rays—to confirm, or rule out, its presence.

Mesothelioma may take a long time to develop but it is a relentless disease that can spread quickly. It is devastating, both to health and family. Being alert to mesothelioma symptoms—and taking action when warning signs appear—can make treatment more effective and give patients some much needed, and deserved, extra time.

This story was brought to you by the mesothelioma lawyers at Cooney & Conway. For more than half a century, we have been advocates for those injured because of the wrongful actions of others. We have litigated and resolved some of the nation’s most significant asbestos lawsuits, bringing justice—and financial compensation—to victims of asbestos exposure and the lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other deadly diseases it can cause.

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