Those of us in the U.S., must have seen Erin Brockovich, a popular environmental and consumer advocate, urging victims of mesothelioma to come forward for help.
Mesothelioma is a serious and rare form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. The number of reported incidence of mesothelioma have increased in the past 20 years as more attention has been given to educate people about the disease. The outer lining of the lungs and internal chest wall of the person is usually affected by this disease. It may also occur in the person's peritoneum, heart, pericardium or tunica vaginalis. Most of those affected by mesothelioma are workers whose jobs have exposed them to asbestos particles; however, even family members of those workers are at risk of developing the disease by exposure to the clothes worn by the worker. Symptoms may include shortness of breath, chest wall pain, fatigue, anemia, coughing, blood in the sputum coughed up and weight loss. Sometimes it takes thirty to fifty years after exposure before the symptoms start to appear, and because there is difficulty in treating that disease, an early diagnosis is important so that the appropriate mesothelioma treatment may be administered.
If you think you or your family member were placed at risk of asbestos exposure, it is wise to seek immediate medical help.