Washington, D.C. Mesothelioma Attorney
Every year, an estimated 3,000 people learn that they have mesothelioma, according to the American Cancer Society. Even for the bravest of families, the news is devastating. Mesothelioma is a form of cancer in the tissue which lines the lungs, stomach, heart and other organs. The five-year relative survival rate for those diagnosed with localized mesothelioma is 18 percent. If the cancer is distant, meaning it has spread throughout the body, the rate is only 7 percent.
Exposure to asbestos causes mesothelioma. Many people suffer from this deadly disease because they inhaled tiny asbestos fibers – in some cases, over a period of many years – without any warning or proper protective equipment from those who knew of the risk of asbestos exposure. People with mesothelioma today may have breathed in asbestos many years ago while serving in the military or while working in a factory or as a mechanic.
At The Law Offices of Michael M. Wilson M.D., J.D. & Associates, our Washington, D.C., mesothelioma lawyers are here to provide support if you or a loved one have been diagnosed with this condition. We bring a rare combination of medical and legal knowledge and experience to the clients we serve. We can investigate the cause of your mesothelioma and help you to pursue all of your legal options. Contact us today to learn more in a free consultation.
What Are the Symptoms of Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma refers to the tumors which form in the tissue lining the lungs, stomach, heart and other organs. This tissue is called the mesothelium. When cancer develops in this tissue, it can be highly aggressive. Many patients experience symptoms for a long period of time before they get medical attention, which can make treatment difficult. By the time a doctor can diagnose the disease and start treatment, the cancer may have spread.
For this reason, it is important to pay attention to signs of mesothelioma. This is especially true if you lived or worked near asbestos, or if you lived with someone who may have been exposed to asbestos and brought it home on their skin and clothes. According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the most common symptoms of mesothelioma include:
- Pleural mesothelioma (lungs) – Chest pain, shortness of breath, coughing and weight loss.
- Peritoneal mesothelioma (stomach and abdomen) – Nausea, weight loss and abdominal swelling and pain.
- Pericardial mesothelioma (heart) – Chest pains and difficulty with breathing.
- Testicular mesothelioma (testicles) – Swelling around the testicles or a mass on the testicles.
If you or a loved one has any of the above symptoms, seeking medical care immediately is critical – especially if you know that you have been exposed to asbestos fibers at some point in your life.
What Are the Stages of Mesothelioma?
According to the American Cancer Society, staging of malignant mesothelioma is based on three factors:
- Size of the main tumor
- Spread of the cancer to nearby lymph nodes
- Spread of the cancer to different sites.
It is important to understand how pleural mesothelioma progresses through four stages:
- Stage I – During this stage, it may still be possible to remove the cancerous tumor through surgery.
- Stage II – In this stage, the cancer is not only within the lung tissue, but it has also spread to nearby lymph nodes on the same side of the body as the main tumor.
- Stage III – At this stage, the cancer has become incredibly aggressive and is spreading quickly. It may still be possible to remove the cancer with surgery, but it will have grown to nearby structures and into either the first layer of the chest wall, the fatty tissue between the lungs, a location deep within the layers of the chest wall and/or the outer covering of the heart. As this stage becomes more advanced (Stage IIIB), the cancer grows to the point where it cannot be removed with surgery.
- Stage IV – In the final stage, the cancer will almost surely be fatal. It will have spread to distant organs and parts of the body such as the liver, bones, stomach or lungs on the opposite side of the body from where the main tumor is located.
What Are the Treatment Options for Mesothelioma?
The treatment option that a doctor and patient pursue will depend on numerous factors, including the patient’s age and health, the progression of the disease and the patient’s preferences. Some potential treatment options include:
- Surgery (including surgery to remove cancerous tissues, fluid in the lungs or an infected organ)
- Radiation therapy
- Targeted therapy
In addition to the above treatment options, a patient may benefit from pain management treatment in the form of prescription drugs and from psychological therapy as well. Unfortunately, all of this treatment can become costly and burdensome. Patients and their families feel the strain.
What Are Legal Options for People with Mesothelioma?
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, then you know that the disease came from asbestos exposure at some point in life. However, identifying when the exposure occurred and the company responsible for it can be extremely challenging. This is because mesothelioma symptoms may not appear until many years – even decades – have passed after a person came into contact with asbestos.
At The Law Offices of Michael M. Wilson M.D., J.D. & Associates, we have the experience and resources it takes to identify the source of a person’s asbestos exposure and the parties who should be held accountable for the physical, emotional and financial harm that the person has suffered as a result of that exposure. Once we identify the cause of the mesothelioma in your case, we can help you to explore all of your legal options. We will discuss those options in depth. They may include:
- Asbestos trust fund claims – Many companies that were responsible for asbestos exposure have gone bankrupt. As part of the bankruptcy process, they were forced to establish trust funds to compensate asbestos victims and their families.
- Legal claims – You may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit against the party responsible for your asbestos exposure (or a wrongful death lawsuit if your loved one died from mesothelioma). In many of these cases, the claim is based on a product defect which the manufacturer failed to warn about.
- Veterans’ benefits – In addition to their other options, veterans may be eligible for medical and disability benefits if they were exposed to asbestos during their service, suffer from mesothelioma due to that exposure and were honorably discharged. Many U.S. Navy veterans, in fact, suffer from this disease due to coming into contact with asbestos while working on or around ships.
- Workers’ compensation benefits – The majority of mesothelioma sufferers were exposed to asbestos as mechanics, firefighters, shipbuilders or railroad, construction or factory workers. These workers may be eligible to receive medical benefits and benefits that cover a portion of their lost earnings.
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits – Mesothelioma is a condition that can prevent a person from being able to work, and as such, a person with this condition may be entitled to receive these federal disability benefits.
Contact Our Washington, D.C., Mesothelioma Attorneys Today
If you are dealing with a mesothelioma diagnosis, you have a long road ahead. While nothing can change what you are going through, knowing that you can pursue compensation to support you and your loved ones can help to give you some peace of mind. Our experienced Washington, D.C. mesothelioma lawyers are here to help. Through the years, we have recovered more than $100 million on behalf of clients in Washington, D.C., and throughout the country. Contact us today to discuss how we can assist you.