Mesothelioma is a form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, usually in the workplace, which can take many decades to develop. Because of this, most mesothelioma patients are older, and often have other health issues that they are dealing with.
Making the job of diagnosis more difficult is the fact that early signs of mesothelioma are often vague and can appear to be any of a number of normal health problems that don’t necessarily raise red flags for doctors.
Most instances of mesothelioma develop in the lungs of former workers at contaminated sites who breathed in tiny fibers of asbestos, some of which became lodged in the small airways of the lungs. This is known as pleural mesothelioma, and is often diagnosed in later stages by doctors.
Early symptoms of pleural mesothelioma can include things like a dry cough, low back pain, fatigue, or weight loss, and all of these symptoms are more easily explained by more common problems. As the disease advances, symptoms become more severe and you doctor will look more closely to identify the cause.
The second most common type of mesothelioma develops in the abdomen, where it is known as peritoneal mesothelioma. Again, the early symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma can look a lot like regular, age-related problems, or even difficulty with allergies or new medications, leading to a late diagnosis by doctors.
Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma, like feeling full or feeling bloated, constipation or diarrhea, and fatigue, won’t necessarily tell a doctor that you’re presenting with signs of mesothelioma cancer.
The most important thing you can do if you know you worked at a site in Louisiana or elsewhere, including the military, where asbestos was in use, is to talk to your doctor about your history of asbestos exposure and make sure they understand your concerns about mesothelioma.
Because only a few thousand cases are diagnosed every year, many family practice doctors may not have seen a case of mesothelioma, so making sure your doctor is informed about your risks and early symptoms of the disease can make a big difference if you do begin developing signs of early mesothelioma.
If you’re diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer in Louisiana, there is help for medical bills, travel costs for specialists and treatment, and help paying the out of pocket costs of clinical trials and more. Call The Gertler Law Firm today at 504-355-0057 to find out how you can have access to the resources you and your family need as you fight mesothelioma in Louisiana.