It’s a safe bet that the estimated 70,000 construction workers, military veterans, farmers, firefighters, supervising engineers, hairdressers, machine operators, metal workers, aircraft mechanics, railroad workers and shipyard workers had no idea at the time of their working lives that they were slowly contracting a deadly form of cancer called mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma has a unique name because of the thin layer of tissues surrounding the various internal organs, known as the mesothelium. And in general, this almost exclusively asbestos-related disease affects the lining of the lungs and chest wall, although in rare cases, the lining on the abdomen, the sac surrounding the heart, and also the testis may be affected.
Mesothelioma Statistics and Facts
Mesothelioma Statistics and facts include:
- Of all the cancers in the U.S., only about .3 percent are mesothelial related.
- Despite the fact that we now know that mesothelioma is asbestos-related, only around 2 to 10 percent of men and women regularly exposed to asbestos, come down with the disease.
- Mesothelioma has a long latency period, which means that it takes years, often from 20 to as much as 50 years before the disease becomes fully present and diagnosed.
- Once diagnosed, particularly in those who are older, life expectancy is low. The average life expectancy is 12 to 22 months for those who have the disease.
- Despite the fact that asbestos, used in thousands of building products, brake pads, tile, flooring, ceilings, cement, fireproofing, heat resistant gaskets, insulation and hundreds of other products. Despite the fact that 61 countries have outright banned asbestos, it not only is legal in the United States but 750 metric tons of it were imported into the US in 2018,
- Owning partially to lack of health care and partially due to ignorance about the disease, between 20 to 30 percent of victims of mesothelioma never get any type of treatment.
- By far, the largest group of people seeking treatment for mesothelioma as well as claims for compensation are veterans.
- Symptoms of mesothelioma can include:
* Abdominal pain and swelling
* Chest Pain
* Frequent Coughing
* Difficulty Breathing
* Fever and Night Sweats
* Difficulty Swallowing
* Fluid buildup
* Low Oxygen Levels
* Muscle Weakness
* Respiratory Problems
* Unexplained Weight Loss
- The common age range for mesothelioma is age 50 to 70, with younger patients, quite rare. Men are three times as likely as women to get the diseases.
- The average amount of successful claims in lawsuits for mesothelioma is between $1 million to $1.4 million for settlements and around $2.4 million for a successful claim at trial.
- While people would rather have their health rather than the money, there is a huge trust of funds related to asbestos products. Once the dangers of asbestos became fully known, in the 1980s, literally thousands of companies who made asbestos laced products successfully filed for bankruptcy. However, while the bankruptcy laws protected them from lawsuits, the courts required the majority of these companies to fund an asbestos-related trust, to help with medical bills as well as compensation.
There are currently 60 mesothelioma trusts out there, with an estimated 30 billion dollars available for help. And while 20 billion of that has been dolled out so far to victims, there is an estimated 10 billion left in the various trusts.
The various trusts all operate differently, and some pay as little as 1 percent of a mesothelioma patients bills, while others pay 100 percent. The average is that compensation from the trusts pays around 25 percent of a claim for medical bills and lost wages.
You also have to qualify, and also make a claim within certain time frames, which can vary from state to state.
- You’ll need an attorney, familiar with mesothelioma claims to be your partner in any attempts to claim compensation. Some states give living mesothelioma patients as little as a year after diagnosis, and missing that deadline can mean you are totally out of luck.
- Mesothelioma continues to be a problem with an estimated 3,000 new cases diagnosed per year.
- An average of 12,000 to 15,000 people continue to die from the disease in the U.S. each year, and 107,000 die worldwide.
- Although there are active trials and good doctors everywhere, mesothelioma is a type of cancer that tends to be more resistant to common treatments like chemotherapy.
- Treatment for mesothelioma is expensive, running around $70,000 or more.