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5 Reasons Mesothelioma is Hard to Diagnose

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the body’s mesothelium. The mesothelium is the membrane that lines the inside of your body’s cavities, mainly in the chest and abdomen. Despite the fact that nearly 75 percent of mesothelioma cases begin in the chest cavity, this cancer is very hard to catch, and it is often misdiagnosed. Mesothelioma is a very malignant form of cancer that often spreads to other parts of the body and creates other health issues for people who have it. The main risk factor associated with mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos, and as we will cover later in the blog, asbestos is widely used in several industries and materials. People who contract this disease likely have an injury or wrongful death claim. You should seek counsel from a mesothelioma attorney if you are diagnosed with this terrible cancer.  Below are five reasons why mesothelioma is hard to catch and accurately diagnose. 

1. Vague and Common Symptoms 

Mesothelioma often goes unnoticed by the people suffering from it and their medical professionals because early symptoms of the disease are so common and often mistaken for something else. The most common symptoms are shortness of breath, dry cough, and chest pain. Since mesothelioma mainly affects older people, many people confuse the earliest symptoms of mesothelioma as old age. When symptoms finally get bad enough to see a doctor, mesothelioma often gets misdiagnosed as pneumonia, lung cancer, or even abdominal cancer. 

2. Rarity

Contributing to the misdiagnosis of mesothelioma is its rarity. Unless your doctor is aware that you were exposed to asbestos, the symptoms associated with the disease will likely be attributed to something much more common. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer, and will likely not be the first thing your doctor thinks is wrong. It is important to tell your doctor if you were exposed to asbestos in order for them to properly diagnose you. 

3. Unknown Exposure to Asbestos

Since asbestos is so widely used in a lot of different applications, you might not even be aware that you were exposed to it. In fact, even if you weren’t working directly with asbestos you could have been exposed in your workplace or it could have been brought home on the clothes of a worker in your family. It is hard to diagnose this rare form of cancer, and unknown exposures to dangerous asbestos only makes the process of accurately diagnosing mesothelioma more difficult for doctors. 

4. Long Latency

The latency period, or the amount of time the cancer grows undetected, for mesothelioma is extremely long. Someone exposed to asbestos might not see the effects of their mesothelioma for 20 to 50 years in some cases. The lengthy latency period makes detection and diagnosis difficult. You may not remember or even know that you were exposed to asbestos 20 or 30 years ago so when you go to see the doctor when your symptoms start to get bad mesothelioma probably won’t be the first thing they look for. 

5. More Difficult to Test For

The only sure fire way to accurately diagnose mesothelioma is to do a biopsy. X-rays and blood samples may lead doctors towards the proper diagnosis, but neither of these methods can accurately confirm mesothelioma. Since the only way to accurately test for mesothelioma requires an invasive procedure and the disease is rare, most doctors will run tests for other types of diseases first. Making matters worse is the rarity of the cancer. Most doctors have little to no mesothelioma experience, and this leads to misdiagnosis. It is always a good idea to get a second opinion where mesothelioma is concerned just because this cancer is so hard to detect and accurately diagnose. 

I Have Been Diagnosed with Mesothelioma. What are the Next Steps?

If you or someone you love, has recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma you can probably take legal action to help pay for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Mesothelioma cases are difficult which is why you need to hire a personal injury attorney who specializes in this rare disease. A mesothelioma attorney will have a deep knowledge of the disease, how it is contracted, and how to litigate on your behalf. You might think that you no longer have a case because you were exposed to asbestos over 20 years ago, but you can still hold your employer responsible for you and your family’s exposure to asbestos and mesothelioma. In the state of Louisiana, you have one year from the time you are diagnosed with mesothelioma to file a lawsuit against those responsible for your exposure to asbestos. If you have lost a loved one to mesothelioma, you have one year from the time of their death to file a wrongful death lawsuit for their untimely loss. 

Baton Rouge Mesothelioma Lawyers

There are a fair amount of mesothelioma cases in the greater Baton Rouge area due in large part to the amount of industries here that exposed their employees to asbestos. Don’t hire an out of state law firm to handle your case. Hire a local mesothelioma lawyer to help you and your family through this difficult time. Murphy Law Firm has experience representing mesothelioma victims. We want to help you recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and more. Don’t suffer alone! Call Murphy Law Firm at (225) 928-8800 to speak with a mesothelioma attorney. We’re local mesothelioma lawyers, and we want to fight for you!