(415) 332-4262

Asbestos Cancer: Another Name for Mesothelioma

Cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos exposure is sometimes called asbestos cancer. The medical terms for the most deadly kind of asbestos related diseases is mesothelioma but since mesothelioma is an obscure word that can be difficult to pronounce and remember, often patients and family members will use the term asbestos cancer instead, even though they are really the same thing.

Individuals are most commonly exposed to airborne asbestos as an occupational hazard, meaning unsafe conditions in the workplace. Until the late 1970s very few regulations existed to control asbestos, and in many cases companies were not required to inform workers that asbestos was being used. Since it usually takes decades to develop, those who worked in manufacturing during these years are now being diagnosed with high rates of asbestos cancer.

Construction workers were also exposed in large numbers, and continue to be exposed today when rehabbing and demolishing older buildings. Such regular exposure increases the risk of developing asbestos cancer.

Asbestos cancer should not be confused with a similar disease that is caused by asbestos exposure known as asbestosis. Asbestosis is not a cancer; it is a chronic inflammation of the lungs that occurs when inhaled asbestos fibers work into the tissues surrounding the lungs and cause extensive scarring. The primary symptom of asbestosis is persistent shortness of breath, which can be mild or severe. A diagnosis of asbestosis puts victims at higher risk for asbestos cancer.

Asbestos cancer and asbestosis are very serious diseases. Asbestosis is limited to the lungs while asbestos cancer can attack the lungs, heart, stomach, and more rarely other parts of the body, but there is no known cure for either disease and expectations for victims’ survival are bleak. Adding to the problem, many people are unaware that they were exposed to asbestos and symptoms of mesothelioma and asbestosis frequently do not appear until the later stages of disease, leading to delayed diagnosis.

Research has shown that many companies that used asbestos and even the U.S. government knew that asbestos was dangerous to humans and could cause asbestos related diseases like asbestos cancer and asbestosis, but took no action to abate the use of the mineral or inform workers about the dangers. Though manufacturing companies are now required to inform individuals at risk of asbestos exposure of the dangers and preventative measures that should be taken, there are acceptable traditional applications for asbestos where asbestos and related materials can still be used in the U.S. Additionally, since prior to regulation hundreds of thousands of products containing asbestos were used, exposure can still happen when these older materials are disturbed. They are especially prevalent in older buildings as floor and ceiling tiles, protective pipe fittings, and insulation.

Clapper, Patti, Schweizer & Mason is a specialized mesothelioma law firm that works on behalf of its clients to collect just compensation from the manufacturers and companies that allowed dangerous handling of asbestos while they knew the dangers and could have protected their workers from this hazard. If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos disease such as asbestos cancer or asbestosis, contact us today to discuss your options at (800) 440-4262.