Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer which means information on the disease is not as readily available as other cancers. We take a look at some of myths and truths behind this devastating disease.
- Only people exposed to asbestos long-term are at risk from mesothelioma
It’s been proven that even a small amount of asbestos exposure can lead to mesothelioma, however the disease is usually caused by long-term exposure, most prominently in a work environment. 70-80% of all mesothelioma cases are caused by workplace asbestos exposure, which is why it’s worth speaking to a solicitor about making a claim against previous employers.
- Mesothelioma only affects the lungs
75% of mesothelioma cases are pleural, meaning the disease is present in the lung lining. The other areas affected by the disease are the abdominal cavity (peritoneal) and the lining of the heart (pericardial). Less than 1% of cases are attributed to testicular mesothelioma.
- Symptoms of mesothelioma appear 20 – 50 years after exposure
The time between a person’s first exposure to mesothelioma and a diagnosis of the disease can be up to 50 years. Unfortunately, once asbestos fibres have caused damage to a particular area of the body, there is little that can be done, as the symptoms of the disease take so long to present themselves.
- Mesothelioma is a rare disease
Compared to other cancers, such as breast cancer or prostate cancer, for example, mesothelioma is rare. However, around 2,500 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year in the UK.
- Mesothelioma can’t be treated
Although there is no cure for mesothelioma and once diagnosed, patients have a life expectancy of 6 – 38 months, there are treatment options available to help prolong a patient’s life. Radiotherapy, chemotherapy, surgery and alternative therapies have all been shown to improve survival rates in people suffering from mesothelioma.
- Mesothelioma victims can claim compensation for their situation
Asbestos is now illegal but for years it was used in many different industries, including the construction, shipping, auto, chemical and manufacturing industries and the material is still in place in many buildings in the UK, continuing to put people at risk. It can be difficult to prosecute the companies responsible for the exposure as decades can pass between the initial exposure and diagnosis. However, there are many successful asbestos related claims where solicitors bring negligent companies to justice.
Read our factsheet for more information on making a claim for an asbestos related disease or speak to the ASD team in Sheffield today on 0114 267 2470.