Malignant mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer affecting the mesothelial tissue (a thin lining) surrounding the lungs, abdomen and heart. The most common variety of malignant mesothelioma originates in the lining surrounding the lungs, also called the “pleura.” Pleural mesothelioma is not a form of lung cancer, although it may in some cases involve the lung tissue. Mesothelioma is a serious and aggressive form of cancer, but treatment is available.
Mesothelioma is diagnosed by a specialist, using the TNM staging system, and peritoneal mesothelioma is diagnosed as Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3, or Stage 4 based on the progression of the tumor growth.
Asbestos Exposure Causes Mesothelioma
Asbestos exposure is the only known cause of malignant mesothelioma, and the association between the inhalation of asbestos and malignant mesothelioma is the strongest link between any cancer and any cause known to medical science. Mesothelioma is caused by asbestos exposure. Unlike lung cancer, smoking DOES NOT increase the risk of developing malignant mesothelioma. Malignant mesothelioma is a latent form of cancer, meaning that it can take years to fully develop and become symptomatic. In fact, it is normal for 30 to 50 years to pass between an individual’s first exposure to asbestos and his or her diagnosis with malignant mesothelioma. However, in some cases, mesothelioma may develop within 10 to 20 years from the first exposure to asbestos.
Causes of Malignant Mesothelioma
Malignant mesothelioma is also a dose responsive disease, meaning that each exposure to asbestos increases the risk of developing the disease. However, even relatively low levels of asbestos exposure have resulted in mesothelioma in susceptible people. Public health agencies in the United States and abroad have recognized that there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos.
If you or a loved one has mesothelioma, contact an attorney at Levin Simes Abrams today. Levin Simes Abrams has years of experience and a track record of success against asbestos manufacturers. Contact us through this page, or call us at 415-426-3000.