It is no longer a secret that asbestos is hazardous material, causing serious health conditions such as asbestosis (similar in presentation to emphysema) in people who are constantly exposed to asbestos. This could be work-related, such as for automobile brake parts, textile or construction workers, or home-based, such as from old insulation made from asbestos or during a home renovation.
Asbestos is a known carcinogenic, but because it has many industrial uses, it is still being used in the US today on a limited basis. There was a time that the heat resistant material was used everywhere. But even with its current restriction to certain products, it is still possible to be at risk from asbestos-related illnesses, which usually come out years after exposure to asbestos.
Perhaps the most identifiable asbestos-related disease is mesothelioma, although asbestosis is more common and just as deadly. The notoriety of mesothelioma is due to the fact that when it is diagnosed, it is almost always fatal within 12 months. It is very hard to detect it in the first stages even with regular health screening for those at risk, so intervention measures usually come too late to be effective.
Malignant mesothelioma is a type of cancer where the abnormal cells develop in the mesothelium, that thin covering of the abdominal organs, lungs, and chest cavity. Mesothelioma is essentially incurable because it is often diagnosed when the malignancy is already widespread. There are some treatments that may help, but there are no guarantees.
Like most cancers, there is the surgical, radiation, and chemotherapy options, each of which are not only risky, they are expensive. They are often used in combination depending on the state of the cancer and the health of the patient. In most cases, the toll on the patient and the family extends beyond the physical and emotional trauma; because of the expense associated with mesothelioma treatment, bankruptcy protection may have to be invoked to protect whatever fixed assets that may become vulnerable, such as the primary residence.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and the exposure is due to the negligence of a third party, you may need to seek compensation to avoid financial ruin. Consult with a mesothelioma lawyer in the area to discuss your options.