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Understanding mesothelioma and how it impacts workers

As previous posts discussed, lung disease could be related to the workplace environment. This is an unexpected circumstance, causing many Ohio workers to suffer a serious health condition. In some cases, it is not apparent that an employee is faced with a dangerous work condition. Even if a certain industry, such as mining, is known for the possible risk of inhaling dangerous particles, the aftermath of this situation tends to take several years or even decades. Thus, even when specialized safety equipment is used, a worker could unexpectedly suffer a lung disease due to their interaction with asbestos or other harmful particles.

Mesothelioma is a well-known lung disease; however, many may not fully understand what it is, what causes it, how it impacts those suffering from it and what treatments are available. Asbestos is the primary cause of malignant mesothelioma, which is a type of cancer that affects around 3,000 people each year in the U.S.

Malignant mesothelioma is a cancer of the pleura, which is the lining located outside of the lung and acts as a lubrication to help the lungs move without any friction. Much like other lung cancers, malignant mesothelioma tends to present itself with chest symptoms, such as shortness of breath, coughing and pain stemming from the pleural lining. However, the lungs tend to exhibit no pain.

Men more commonly suffer from mesothelioma because they traditionally held jobs in industries that caused exposure to asbestos. This included occupations in construction and shipbuilding. Asbestos was widely used from the early 1900s till the 1970s; however, individuals still come into contact with asbestos since it was frequently used for insulation.

The problem with mesothelioma is that it is often diagnosed when an individual is at an advanced stage. This unfortunately makes a diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma a fatal one. This also means that it is rare to cure. This type of cancer grows in a lining that covers almost one-quarter of the body. This makes it impossible to remove it surgically even if the cancer has not spread.

As the above information discusses, mesothelioma is a serious health condition that could be caused by the work environment. When this is the case, workers should understand their situation and their options. Workers' compensation benefits could be very resourceful, helping a worker cover medical bills, rehabilitation, lost wages and other related damages.

Source: Health.usnews.com, "What to Know About Malignant Mesothelioma," Kathleen Hall, June 27, 2017

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