The Top Telltale Signs Of Mesothelioma

Thousands of people in the UK are diagnosed every year with mesothelioma. The disease – a type of cancer that occurs in the thin layer of tissue covering most of our organs (mesothelium) – is usually caused by exposure to asbestos, a mineral whose use has been banned in the UK since 1999.

However, despite the ban, mesothelioma cases in the country are expected to continue growing in the coming years. 

The most recent data provided by the NHS shows that about 2,700 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma in the country annually.

One of the significant challenges the disease poses is the difficulty of detecting it. In its early stages, mesothelioma is confused with other more common illnesses, which delays treatment for those affected. For this reason, it’s paramount to be aware of the disorder’s symptoms.

MESOTHELIOMA, Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment.

How Can You Get Mesothelioma?

How Can You Get Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is primarily caused by exposure to asbestos, a group of minerals made of microscopic fibers that used to be widely used in construction, automotive, military, and other industries due to their strength, insulation, and fire-resistant properties.

When materials containing asbestos are disturbed, they release fine fibers into the air, which can be inhaled or ingested.

Family members of workers who are exposed to asbestos can also be at risk. Its fibers can be brought home on clothing, skin, and hair, making those in the worker’s household susceptible.

In these cases, the effect is devastating, as the entire family can suffer from a disease that, unfortunately, is incurable.

It is also important to highlight that, although asbestos has been banned for over two decades, many old buildings still contain it. Residents of these buildings may be exposed to the mineral during renovation works.

Neighbours can also be affected, especially during major renovations or demolitions. Therefore, it’s vital that buildings constructed before the 2000s are inspected to identify the presence of asbestos, especially if construction works or demolitions are being planned.

Once inhaled or ingested, asbestos fibers become lodged in the mesothelium, the protective lining that covers the lungs, abdomen, and heart.

Over time, these fibers can cause inflammation and genetic damage to cells, leading to the development of mesothelioma.

The process from exposure to the manifestation of the disease can take decades, which is why this cancer often appears many years after the initial contact with the mineral.

Given the latency period and the severity of mesothelioma, those exposed to asbestos must monitor their health closely and consult healthcare providers for regular check-ups, even if they do not currently show symptoms.

The Key Symptoms to Look Out For

Some symptoms indicate the possible presence of mesothelioma in the body. However, it’s important to highlight that many of these symptoms can appear late when the disease is already well-developed. 

  1. Breathlessness: This occurs due to fluid accumulating around the lungs, making it difficult for them to expand fully.
  2. Chest Pain: Patients may experience chest or abdominal pain due to the tumour pressing on nerve endings.
  3. Persistent Cough: A dry cough or wheezing might be present, which doesn’t go away over time.
  4. Fatigue: Extreme tiredness that doesn’t improve with rest can be a sign, although it’s very nonspecific.
  5. Unexplained Weight Loss: Losing weight without trying might be a sign of mesothelioma, as with many other types of cancer.
  6. Lumps Under the Skin on the Chest: These can sometimes be felt on examination and are due to cancer spreading.
  7. Difficulty Swallowing: Known as dysphagia, this can occur if the tumor affects the esophagus.
  8. Swelling of the Face and Arms: Swelling in these areas may occur if a tumor presses on the vena cava, a large blood vessel.
  9. Fever and Sweating: Particularly at night, these symptoms can be due to cancer affecting the immune system.
  10. Abdominal Swelling and Pain: In cases where the mesothelioma affects the abdomen, swelling, and pain due to fluid accumulation can occur.

Can You Get Compensation?

Can You Get Compensation

Yes, you can!

Workers with mesothelioma acquired at work may be eligible for the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB). It’s a non-contributory, tax-free benefit, which means it isn’t based on National Insurance contributions and doesn’t count as taxable income.

Moreover, employers have a legal duty to ensure the workplace is safe and to prevent health risks to their employees. This includes adhering to the standards required by law and following safety regulations.

If an employer is careless or negligent in these duties, leading to an employee developing a condition such as mesothelioma, the company can be held liable for the harm caused.

Mesothelioma compensation claims do not necessarily have to be paid to the employee.

The victim’s family can also be compensated as a way to minimize the suffering of seeing a loved one sick and to help with the treatment costs or with the financial loss resulting from the victim’s death or inability to work.

The amount of compensation will depend on each case’s specific circumstances. Legal precedent indicates that the sum paid can vary between £10,000 and £1m.

The UK’s standard limitation period for personal injury claims, including those related to occupational diseases, is three years.

However, given the unique nature of occupational diseases, which can take decades to manifest symptoms after exposure, the time limit does not start from the date of asbestos exposure. Instead, it starts from the “date of knowledge.”

It’s crucial to seek legal advice as soon as you become aware of potential work-related mesothelioma signs. A solicitor can help you understand your rights and fight for compensation. 

Mesothelioma is a severe health issue with dire consequences for society as a whole. Understanding its causes and most common symptoms is the first step towards avoiding the problem or ensuring that justice is done if the damage has already been caused.