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Mesothelioma Symptoms and Diagnosis 

David C. Thompson, P.C.  Feb. 7, 2023

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the mesothelial cells, which are responsible for forming the protective lining around the lungs and other organs. According to the American Cancer Society, about 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed across the United States every year.  

If you or someone you love has been exposed to asbestos and you are worried about the possible risks of developing mesothelioma, you might want to see a doctor as soon as possible. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your exposure to asbestos, you may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit against a company liable for asbestos exposure.  

David C. Thompson is a results-driven and compassionate mesothelioma attorney who represents clients throughout the state of North Dakota. Located in Grand Forks, North Dakota, David C. Thompson, P.C. helps clients pursue the compensation they deserve in other parts of the state, including Fargo, Minot, and Bismarck.  

What Causes Mesothelioma?  

Below are the most common causes of mesothelioma: 

  1. Asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a mineral that forms in rock formations and has been widely used in construction due to its fireproofing properties. Unfortunately, asbestos fibers are very small and can easily be inhaled or ingested when disturbed or exposed to air. When these fibers enter the body, they can cause inflammation, scarring, and cell mutation, which leads to mesothelioma. People who work with materials containing asbestos are most at risk for developing this type of cancer because they are exposed to higher levels of the substance on a regular basis.  

  1. Living with someone who works with asbestos. In addition to workers who directly handle asbestos-containing materials, there is an increased risk for people who live with someone who works with asbestos on a regular basis. Even if you do not come into contact with materials containing asbestos at home, you may still be at risk due to secondhand exposure through their work clothing or environmental factors such as dust particles from their workplace.  

  1. Radiation exposure. Radiation exposure is another possible cause of mesothelioma. While most cases of mesothelioma are linked to asbestos exposure, some studies have suggested that certain types of radiation may also increase your chances of developing this form of cancer. For example, people exposed to high radiation levels during nuclear accidents or tests may have an elevated risk of developing mesothelioma compared to those who were not. However, more research needs to be done in order to confirm this link conclusively.  

  1. Family history of mesothelioma. For some individuals, there may be an inherited link between family members who have developed mesothelioma – though this is extremely rare. Studies suggest that mutations in certain genes may increase one’s chance of developing this type of cancer even if they were never exposed to asbestos or radiation themselves – though again, more research needs to be done before any definitive conclusions can be made about this connection.  

Mesothelioma affects many people each year and can have devastating consequences on one’s health and quality of life if left untreated. Understanding what causes mesothelioma can help you diagnose it earlier and pursue treatment options sooner rather than later, thus improving your chances for better outcomes overall. 

What Are the Symptoms of Mesothelioma?  

Mesothelioma can take decades to develop after exposure to asbestos, so it can be difficult to identify until it has progressed significantly. Common symptoms include:  

  • Shortness of breath 

  • Chest pain 

  • Coughing up blood or fluid buildup around the lungs 

  • Abdominal swelling or pain 

  • Weakness 

  • Fatigue 

If you have any of these symptoms and have a history of working with asbestos, make sure to contact your doctor as soon as possible. 

When to See a Doctor  

Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer that develops from exposure to asbestos particles in the air we breathe. Its symptoms are often subtle but can become more severe over time if left untreated. 

If you have been exposed to asbestos or other forms of radiation, or if you have a family history of mesothelioma, then it’s vital that you speak with your doctor about any symptoms you might be experiencing as soon as possible in order to get the best care available for your particular situation.  

How Is Mesothelioma Diagnosed?  

If your doctor suspects you might have mesothelioma based on your medical history and physical exam results, they will likely order certain tests to confirm their diagnosis. These tests may include: 

  • X-rays or CT scans; 

  • Laboratory tests such as urine or blood tests;  

  • Biopsies, which involve taking tissue samples from the affected areas for further examination; or 

  • Bronchoscopy, where a flexible tube with a camera is inserted through your mouth into your lungs for further evaluation.  

Your doctor will use all this information along with your medical history to diagnose mesothelioma. 

Speak With an Experienced Attorney 

If you suspect that you may have mesothelioma or were diagnosed with this rare form of cancer, seek legal counsel immediately. You may be entitled to compensation for the damages caused by asbestos exposure and mesothelioma. David C. Thompson, P.C. can give you peace of mind and provide you with a sense of stability during this difficult time. Schedule a consultation today to discuss whether you have a valid legal case.