What Is Mesothelioma?

Malignant mesothelioma is a form of cancer that forms in the thin tissue layers of our internal organs, called the mesothelium. Most mesothelioma is in the lungs, called pleural mesothelioma. A rare form is found in the lining of the abdomen, called peritoneal mesothelioma. This aggressive and deadly cancer has been diagnosed on rare occasions in other internal organs, such as around the heart tissue and testes. However pleural mesothelioma is the most common. While there are treatments that can help to slow its progression, this form of cancer is virtually always deadly.

Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include:

  • Chest pain
  • Painful coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Lumps under the skin on your chest

Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Nausea
  • Unexplained weight loss 

Mesothelioma causes and at-risk individuals

Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos particles. Asbestos is a natural material that was mined for many years in the United States; large-scale manufacturing began in the 19th century. Asbestos is very strong and heat-resistant and was used extensively in construction, insulation, transportation, and consumer goods. Examples include insulation around pipes and boilers, and in floor tiles, paper, and house shingles. It was used in making fire-resistant clothing, especially for firemen, and in brakes and clutch shoes in vehicles. Most Americans had at least some exposure to products containing asbestos, but the product is generally considered dangerous only in its airborne form. 

Those who were most exposed to asbestos and may still be exposed due to old machinery or construction materials include:

  • Military personnel, as the military used asbestos extensively in Navy ships and shipyards, airplanes, barracks, and more
  • Railroad workers
  • Construction workers
  • Asbestos miners
  • Electrical workers
  • Plumbers
  • Pipefitters
  • Firefighters
  • Shipyard workers
  • Demolition workers
  • Home remodelers

Most people who have been exposed to asbestos do not develop this terrible cancer, but the more exposure, the greater the risk. Even family members of workers exposed to asbestos could be at risk second-hand from particles on the person’s clothes. 


It is remarkable to realize how long there has been evidence of the health effects of asbestos exposure. Though used for thousands of years in small quantities, the large-scale mining beginning in the mid-1850s and its use in so many products quickly sent warning signals to many in the medical community; however, their warnings were not only ignored but covered up over many years.

As early as the late 19th century, reports were circulating of the health risks of mining asbestos. By the 1930s, scientists established a link between asbestos work and cancer. Evidence of its toxicity continued to mount, but with the massive growth of the asbestos industry, companies literally worked to hide evidence from employees, sometimes in collusion with their insurance company. At the time, big companies would provide some medical services and were known to hide chest X-rays from workers and deny their illnesses.

By 1964, a definitive link was found between asbestos and cancer, and in 1971 the EPA classified asbestos as a hazardous air pollutant, though the creation of asbestos products did not immediately stop. However, asbestos companies denied any knowledge of health risks before 1964. Depositions and lawsuits brought out the terrible truth of their cover-up. 


Mesothelioma lawsuits can claim more than one wrongful action. Asbestos lawsuits are generally considered product liability lawsuits because they allege that a product is defective or hazardous. This includes claims such as negligence of duty, strict liability, and breach of warranty. This is generally considered a personal injury lawsuit, in which asbestos companies or manufacturers of asbestos-containing products are sued. As an experienced personal injury attorney, I make it my duty to seek as many avenues of lawsuit as possible in order to hold accountable all guilty parties.

However, mesothelioma can take 20 to 50 years or more to develop. This means that, in some cases, the exposed individual may have died before there was widespread awareness of the cause of the terrible cancer. In this case, we would file a wrongful death claim on the part of the deceased person’s survivors. If the person files a personal injury lawsuit and dies before it is settled, it can be converted into a wrongful death suit.

The link between mesothelioma and asbestos is unchallengeable; therefore, proving both exposure and a mesothelioma diagnosis is all that is needed to begin a claim. However, you will want to demonstrate the full degree of how the asbestos has harmed your life – physically, financially, emotionally, and in your relationships. The greater the evidence of harm, the greater the compensation you deserve.

Every case I take on becomes personal to me, as if one of my own friends or loved ones had been injured, and I work vigorously to uncover every possible expense or complication for my clients to help them get the maximum settlement for their injuries. I’m not afraid to go to court if necessary, and I have a track record of winning significant awards. Contact me today 24/7 at (954) 448-7288 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

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