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Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer which is caused by exposure to asbestos dust and fibres. It usually develops in the fluid in the lining of the lungs, but can also affect the lining of the abdomen, the peritoneum, as well as the lining of the heart, the pericardium.

The illness generally develops over many years and even decades after exposure to asbestos dust took place. In some cases, the source of the exposure is not immediately obvious. Our highly specialised lawyers are experts at investigating and tracking down employers and can help you gain the answers you need.

Asbestos has been known to be harmful to health since the late 19th century. Despite this knowledge, it was widely used in buildings and in industry, particularly in the 1960s and 1970s. As a result, asbestos is still found in buildings today.

Particular groups of workers are likely to have had very heavy occupational exposure to asbestos and, are therefore, at greatest risk of developing mesothelioma. These include laggers, shipyard workers, railway and power station workers, construction tradesmen.

Mesothelioma may also be caused by smaller levels of exposure to asbestos and so, even workers such as health professionals and teachers can develop mesothelioma. Others that may be at risk include family members of those exposed to asbestos at work and those who have lived near an asbestos factory or, who have suffered other environmental exposure to the dust.

Current misconceptions about mesothelioma.

Myth one – Not all types of asbestos cause mesothelioma

The main types of asbestos are crocidolite (blue), amosite (brown) and chrysotile (white). Blue asbestos is up to 500 times more likely to cause mesothelioma than white asbestos. Brown asbestos is up to 100 times more likely to cause mesothelioma than white asbestos. All types of asbestos are known to cause mesothelioma.

Myth two – Only high levels of exposure to asbestos cause mesothelioma.

WATCH is the Government’s own scientific advisory committee and they confirmed that there is no level below which it is safe to be exposed to asbestos. Low level exposure over long periods is known to cause mesothelioma.

Myth three – Mesothelioma cannot be treated.

There are a range of treatments and therapies available to victims of mesothelioma. CT and MRI scans can detect mesothelioma long before an x-ray. Early diagnosis can be important in terms of treatment and life expectancy. Palliative radiotherapy may be used to try to control pain.

Experimental treatments and therapies currently include immuno, cryogenic and proton therapy. A number of drug trials are taking place that use drugs to try to block cell growth. Procedures to target radiotherapy at very small well-defined tumors to try to burn away the cancer cells are also undertaken. For more information about the latest treatments and current trials contact Mesothelioma UK.

Myth four – there is limited or, no support following a diagnosis of mesothelioma.

There is an ever-growing range of local support groups and nationwide organisations that can help you following a diagnosis of mesothelioma.  Your own GP and a specialist chest physician will provide initial advice. There are a number of specialist mesothelioma centres in England. Macmillan offer care and support to victims and their families.

Myth five – Compensation for mesothelioma cannot be claim if the employer no longer exists, or, if the employer is uninsured.

If your employer was insured at the time you were negligently exposed to asbestos, it is still possible to bring a successful claim, even if the Company no longer exists. It is possible to apply to reinstate a defunct company so that a claim can be brought against the company and its insurer. If an employer was or is uninsured then new Legislation allows for a claim to be made to a fund of last resort. Specialist legal advice is essential.

TREATMENT

There is no known cure for mesothelioma. We are aware, however, of a range of treatments that are available to alleviate some of the symptoms and assist with diagnostics. We do not offer any medical advice. Below we highlight areas of interest.

  • Mesothelioma is visible on CT scan long before x-ray. Early detection is important in both mesothelioma and lung cancer cases.
  • CT scans can also assist with guided biopsy procedures.
  • MRI scans can be important in staging the disease, which is needed to determine the best treatment plan.
  • Radiotherapy can be used after biopsy to try to sterilise the area and reduce the risk of portal track mastitis.
  • Radiotherapy trials are open across the Country
  • There are two chemotherapy trials in Leicester. It is hoped there will be other centres open next year.
  • Laser light therapy has been attempted to try to remove small well-defined tumors.
  • Cyber knives are also in research stage for small non-mesothelioma lung cancer tumor removal.
  • Cryogenic treatment is under research in the USA but is in its early stages.
  • In Sheffield there is an intra-pleural trial of HSV1716.

For information about ongoing and future trials please contact Mesothelioma UK.

HOW TO CLAIM

A claim for compensation for your asbestos related illness or injury may be brought against the person or organisation which negligently exposed you to asbestos.

There are time limits for bringing claims for compensation for mesothelioma and asbestos related diseases and illnesses.

We will explain these to you and work swiftly to ensure that you receive compensation, at the earliest opportunity after your diagnosis.

We will notify your claim to your former employer and obtain an independent expert medical report.

We will recover compensation for your injury, pain, suffering and loss of amenity and for all related financial losses, including loss of earnings and pension, any care costs, medical treatment, travel expenses.

Legal Costs

Although you might be worried about legal costs, you should not let this put you off contacting us. You will not have to pay us for our work. If you succeed in your claim, we will be paid by your opponent or their insurers and you keep all of the compensation recovered. If your claim fails, it will not cost you anything

Claiming Benefits

We will advise you on your entitlement to claim state benefits because of your illness. You may not have claimed benefits before. As a sufferer of mesothelioma you will be entitled to state benefits.

Benefits which can help to alleviate any financial pressure you may be experiencing or, assist you with paying for care, equipment or other services needed.

Isobel Lovett and her team will complete and submit the relevant application forms for you, to make sure that you receive your full entitlement.

Our Industrial Disease Solicitors are backed by nearly four decades of experience with Mesothelioma compensation cases. Our legal practice and team of Industrial Disease Solicitors have a strong track record of achieving the best possible results. For expert legal advice use our contact form or call us on 0808 250 6017 today.