Diagnosing asbestos-related mesothelioma

Photo @ Ltd Team Edge Hill Universite via Flickr under Creative CommonsAsbestos has grown to become one of the deadliest materials found in the UK; its wide use from the 1940s onwards, within the construction industry, has resulted in thousands of deaths as individuals develop asbestos-related diseases due to exposure decades before.

Mesothelioma is the most common asbestos related disease, and with 2,535 deaths in 2012 compared to 2,291 deaths in 2011, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), it is predicted that mesothelioma deaths will increase further until 2030.

With access to some of the leading mesothelioma claim solicitors in London, Asbestos Claim Centre has assisted clients diagnosed with mesothelioma to pursue compensation for their negligent exposure to asbestos in a working environment.

What is mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is one of the four main asbestos-related diseases that has been identified in the UK. Like lung cancer, plural plaque and asbestosis, mesothelioma has been proven to develop as a result of asbestos exposure and even the slightest exposure to harmful asbestos containing materials (ACMs) can trigger this disease.

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer which affects the mesothelial cells; these cells form the outer surface of the majority of the body's organs, including the lungs and digestive tract.

There are two types of mesothelioma – pleural and peritoneal. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of the disease, and develops in the tissue covering the lungs. Whilst the peritoneal mesothelioma effects the lining of the abdomen.

Am I at risk?

Despite mesothelioma being the most prevalent asbestos-related disease, it is quite a rare cancer. However, the number of deaths per year from the disease is increasing due to it's the prolonged period of time between exposure and subsequent development as an illness.

According to Cancer Research UK, more than 2,500 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year, with men who have a history of working in the construction industry at a greater risk than other industry sectors. There are approximately five times more cases of mesothelioma in men than in women

Asbestos exposure is the major cause of pleural mesothelioma, and while it is a widely established link today, the relationship between asbestos and mesothelioma remained unknown until the 1960s.

The late discovery of the link between mesothelioma and asbestos fibres meant that asbestos was used extensively throughout the majority of the 20th century - across the building, ship building, appliance manufacturing, motor, power and telecommunications industries. The use of asbestos was only regulated in the early 1970s when legislation was put in place limiting its use and to restrict exposure. A complete ban then came into force in the 1980s.

Those thought to be most at risk are metal plate workers and carpenters, whilst all tradespeople working in construction or engineering sectors and those who redeveloping buildings built or refurbished prior to the 1990s are considered at risk.

Do I have mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma symptoms and diagnosis usually occurs in later life, some 40 to 50 years after exposure and, in many cases, diagnosis happens too late. Spotting the signs early is the key to improving survival rates for asbestos-related diseases, and if you are suffering from the following, please visit your GP.

Pleural mesothelioma symptoms include:

  • Lower back or chest pain
  • Breathlessness
  • Fever and night sweats
  • Coughing
  • Weight loss

Peritoneal mesothelioma symptoms include:

  • Swelling of the abdomen
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Appetite suppression
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhoea or constipation

Once you have notified your GP of these symptoms, you will then be sent for further testing before a diagnosis is reached.

Imaging studies such as X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans and ultrasound scans are used to identify asbestos-related conditions such as mesothelioma. As mesothelioma is particularly difficult to diagnose, a surgical procedure called a thoracoscopy may also be needed to take a biopsy of affected tissue.

Have you been diagnosed with mesothelioma?

If you have developed mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure at work you may be able to claim compensation. Our London-based mesothelioma claim solicitors can give you the legal support and advice that you require to pursue your claim and gain the compensation you deserve.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with this or any other asbestos-related condition in the last three years, then you could make a claim for compensation, even if your employer is no longer in business.

Contact our team today on 0800 508 8747 or submit an online enquiry form to discuss your claim.

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