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What are the symptoms of mesothelioma?

The dangers of asbestos -- a common material used in the past to insulate homes and buildings in West Virginia -- are becoming well-known. If a person breathes in asbestos particles, they risk developing diseases such as mesothelioma, a rare type of cancer. For example, construction workers tearing down a building containing asbestos or people remodeling their homes can come into contact with asbestos and contract mesothelioma. Because of this, it is important to understand what mesothelioma is, and how to identify it.

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the tissue surrounding one's internal organs. This tissue is very thin. The organs affected often include the lungs. This is known as pleural malignant mesothelioma. However, other organs can also be affected, including organs in the abdomen. This is known as peritoneal mesothelioma.

Symptoms of pleural malignant mesothelioma of the lungs include pain in the chest near one's ribs, shortness of breath, weight loss, coughing that causes pain and unexplained growths under one's skin in the area of one's chest. Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma of the abdomen include swelling and pain in the abdomen, weight loss and tissue growths in the abdomen. If a person suspects they may be suffering from mesothelioma, it is important for them to let their doctor know if they have been in contact with asbestos or other dangerous property conditions.

Mesothelioma is a very aggressive disease that is often fatal. Those who contract mesothelioma due to contact with asbestos particles should do their research, to see if they have the possibility of pursuing a legal claim for damages. Damages sought may include recovery for medical expenses, lost wages and, if the victim dies, funeral costs and loss of companionship.

Source: Mayo Clinic, "Mesothelioma," Oct. 24, 2012

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