Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is associated almost entirely with individuals who held jobs where they inhaled asbestos fibers. Some of these individuals have lived in the same household as someone exposed to asbestos and become exposed to the asbestos fibers from their clothing.

Mesothelioma is cancer of the mesothelium, this is the protective sac that covers most of the body’s internal organs. The disease occurs most often in the Pleura (outer lining of the lungs and internal chest wall), about 70 per cent of the time. Mesothemiola may also occur in the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity) 10-15 per cent of the time.

It is very rare but it can also attack the pericardium (a sac that surrounds the heart) 5 per cent of the time. There is no association between mesothelioma and smoking, unlike lung cancer. Mesothelioma occurs predominately in men but it can show up in women as well. The risk of developing mesothelioma will increase with age, but this deadly disease can appear in both men and women of any age.

Allow Zero Exposure To Asbestos Fibers

This deadly disease can be difficult to diagnose as the symptoms are similar to many other conditions. Once the disease is diagnosed it is usually well established so the prognosis is usually poor. The best way to avoid contracting this disease is to avoid any exposure to asbestos fibers.

The position of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is that “protections and ‘permissible exposure limits’ required by U.S. regulations, while adequate to prevent most asbestos related non-malignant disease, they are not adequate to prevent or protect against asbestos related cancers such as mesothelioma.”

The U.K. is faced with the same dilemma when trying to regulate a safe amount of exposure to asbestos. The UKs Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states that if there is a safe threshold for mesothelioma “it must be at a very low level and it is widely agreed that if any such threshold does exist at all, then it cannot currently be quantified.” For all practical purposes, HSE believes that no “safe” threshold for the exposure to asbestos fibers exists.

Two Long Term Survivors Of Peritoneal Mesothelioma

While the prognosis for surviving peritoneal mesothelioma is disappointing there are a few cases that must be mentioned to offer hope to those afflicted. Here are some notable survivors. Stephen Jay Gould was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma in July 1982. Following his diagnosis Gould wrote the “The Median Isn’t the Message” for Discover magazine, in it he argued that the median survival rates of individuals were just statistics, not destiny. This courageous man lived 20 more years after his diagnosis.

Author Paul Kraus was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma in July 1997, his prognosis was grim, less than a year to live.  He is still with us and has written a book about his experience entitled, “Surviving Mesothelioma and Other Cancers: A Patient’s Guide.” If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma please contact a personal injury attorney at The Law Offices of Nadrich & Cohen, we can help you.