Mesothelioma Questions and Answers

Along with a mesothelioma diagnosis comes dozens of questions: What is mesothelioma? Is there a cure for it? Where can I find a specialist?

For over 20 years, Simmons Hanly Conroy has helped clients impacted by mesothelioma. We have a wealth of resources to assist you with navigating the complexities of this disease, including registered nurses on staff and detailed information on the use of asbestos throughout the country.

If you or a loved one was diagnosed with mesothelioma, call (800) 326-8900 now for a free legal consultation. Simmons Hanly Conroy may be able to pursue justice and compensation from the asbestos companies that caused you harm.

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General Mesothelioma Questions

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.

Mesothelioma most often affects the lining of the lungs, abdomen and heart. There are four types of mesothelioma, each named for the part of the body where the cancer is found.

The types of mesothelioma include: 

  • Pleural mesothelioma: This is the most common type of mesothelioma, accounting for 80-85% of all cases. Pleural mesothelioma forms in the lining of the lungs (pleura).
  • Peritoneal mesothelioma: This type of mesothelioma accounts for 10-15% of all cases. Peritoneal mesothelioma forms in the lining of the abdomen (peritoneum).
  • Pericardial mesothelioma: Less than 1% of mesothelioma cases form in the external lining of the heart (pericardium).
  • Testicular mesothelioma: This is the rarest type of mesothelioma. It forms in the lining of the testes (tunica vaginalis).

Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos. Many asbestos companies knowingly exposed their employees and consumers to dangerous asbestos products.

When asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested, they become trapped in the linings of organs. The body is unable to break these fibers down, and after years of irritation, the fibers can cause cancer cells to form.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, call (800) 326-8900 or fill out our contact form today for a free legal consultation.

Although there’s no cure for mesothelioma, surgeries and treatments may extend life expectancies and ease the symptoms of mesothelioma.

No. While pleural mesothelioma forms in the lining surrounding the lungs, lung cancer forms directly inside the lungs.

Mesothelioma is a relatively rare form of cancer. Around 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma in the United States each year. This accounts for approximately 0.3% of annual cancer diagnoses in the U.S.

Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases can take decades to develop. Typically, mesothelioma symptoms appear 10-50 years after exposure to asbestos has taken place.

Medical Questions: Symptoms, Treatments and Prognosis

Symptoms of mesothelioma are often similar to those of other common illnesses. Unfortunately, they may not appear until the disease has reached an advanced stage, which can be 10 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos.

Common mesothelioma symptoms may include: 

  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing
  • Hoarseness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weight loss
  • Wheezing

If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to contact your physician as soon as possible and inform them of your asbestos exposure history.

Diagnosing mesothelioma is often quite difficult because mesothelioma symptoms are very similar to other less serious diseases.

Your physician will most likely start the diagnostic process by asking you questions about your symptoms, medical history, lifestyle and exposure to asbestos.

From there, you may undergo several diagnostic procedures:

  1. Imaging tests and/or blood tests to detect the presence of cancer cells
  2. Biopsies to confirm whether or not cells are cancerous

Biopsies are the only way to officially confirm a mesothelioma diagnosis. Biopsies take fluid or tissue samples from the patient to examine in the lab.

The type of treatment you receive will depend on the stage and type of mesothelioma you have, as well as a few other factors like your medical history, age and overall health.

The most common treatments for mesothelioma include:  

  • Chemotherapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Radiation
  • Surgery

Doctors may combine some of these treatment options to maximize their effectiveness. Your mesothelioma specialist might also consider additional treatments, including alternative medicine or clinical trials.

No. Mesothelioma is not contagious, meaning that it cannot be passed from person to person.

However, it is possible that asbestos fibers can be transferred from one person to another. These microscopic fibers can stick to clothing and hair, and there have been cases where people have unknowingly brought asbestos fibers from their workplaces and into their homes.

This is known as secondhand asbestos exposure.

Chest X-rays are often performed when there are any issues with the lungs. While an X-ray may show abnormalities in the lungs — such as tumors, excess fluid or thickening of the lining around the lungs — the only way to confirm a mesothelioma diagnosis is through a biopsy.

Yes. Doctors consider mesothelioma to be an aggressive form of cancer, as it can spread quickly throughout the body.

Unfortunately, mesothelioma symptoms often go unnoticed or undiagnosed until the cancer has reached an advanced stage.

While the average life expectancy is 12-21 months, this number can vary greatly depending on individual circumstances.

A patient’s life expectancy will depend on a number of factors, including their:

  • Age
  • Overall health
  • Treatment options
  • Type of mesothelioma

It is important to seek medical care immediately if you suspect that you have mesothelioma, as medical intervention may help to ease uncomfortable symptoms and extend your life expectancy.

Yes. Although rare, it is possible for mesothelioma treatment to be effective enough that cancer cells are no longer growing. It is important to work with a mesothelioma specialist to get the best treatment plan for you.

If you need help finding a specialist, contact us now for free. Our on-staff nurses can help connect you with a mesothelioma doctor and cancer center near you if you qualify.

Since mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer, it is advisable that you see a mesothelioma specialist.

Our mesothelioma lawyers work closely with mesothelioma specialists across the country, including the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation.

To learn more about different mesothelioma specialists and treatment options that may be available to you, fill out our contact form or call (800) 326-8900 to speak with a member of our team.

Asbestos Questions

Asbestos is a naturally occurring group of minerals that contain fibers easily separated into thin, microscopic threads. These fibers are strong, flexible, heat-resistant and do not conduct electricity.

As a result, asbestos was used in thousands of products throughout the 20th century in the United States.

There are four types of asbestos that have been used commercially:

  • Chrysotile (white) asbestos
  • Crocidolite (blue) asbestos
  • Amosite (brown) asbestos
  • Anthophyllite (gray) asbestos

Asbestos use became popular in the United States during the Industrial Revolution and continued throughout the 1970s. Known as the “miracle fiber” for its tensile strength, asbestos was primarily used for insulation, fireproofing and sound absorption.

Over time, asbestos found its way into several industries and thousands of different products.

For example, the building and construction industries have used asbestos in cements, plastics and insulation; the automotive industry has used asbestos in brake shoes and clutch pads; and the shipbuilding industry has used asbestos to insulate boilers and hot water pipes.

Although asbestos has been confirmed to be a human carcinogen, it is still used in the United States today. There are several organizations, such as the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, working to completely ban its use.

In 1989, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned the majority of asbestos-containing products. However, this ban was overturned by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in 1991 after pressure from companies whose profits came from the asbestos industry.

In April 2022, the EPA proposed a new ban on chrysotile asbestos, which is the most commonly used asbestos throughout the United States.

Unless a material is labeled, it is difficult to determine whether it contains asbestos simply by looking at it.

If you have any doubts about the material, you should treat it as if it contains asbestos, or have it sampled and analyzed by a certified professional.

Taking samples yourself is never recommended because if done incorrectly, sampling can be more hazardous than leaving the material alone.

The World Health Organization estimates that over 107,000 people worldwide die each year from asbestos-related diseases. Exposure to asbestos increases the risk of several serious diseases, including lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma.

When a product that contains asbestos is disturbed, microscopic asbestos fibers are released into the air.

Because asbestos fibers are small, odorless and colorless, they can stay in the air for a long time and are not easily detected. These fibers can then either be inhaled or ingested.

If they stick to a person’s clothing, skin or hair then others who come in contact with that person could also inhale or ingest the fibers.

After inhalation or ingestion, asbestos fibers can become lodged in the lungs or other body cavities and can cause serious disease. Symptoms of these diseases do not generally appear until 10 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos.

Unfortunately, there is no safe level of asbestos exposure. Accidentally inhaling or ingesting any amount of asbestos fibers can cause you to develop dangerous diseases such as mesothelioma or asbestosis decades after your exposure.

In the United States legal system, manufacturers, suppliers, sellers and distributors have a legal duty to provide safe products and warn those using their products of any potential dangers associated with them.

Many asbestos companies knew of the dangers of asbestos — but they chose to put profits over the health of their employees and consumers.

Even if you can prove asbestos exposure has taken place, you or a loved one must have a diagnosis to file a mesothelioma lawsuit against an asbestos company.

Contact us today to see if you are eligible to pursue compensation from the asbestos companies that caused you harm.

Mesothelioma Legal Questions 

Working with a highly skilled mesothelioma law firm like Simmons Hanly Conroy is vital because mesothelioma claims can be complicated, and an experienced firm will make the process as easy as possible for you.

In general, the mesothelioma claims process involves the following steps: 

  1. Contact Our Mesothelioma Law Firm: A member of our team will provide you with a free legal consultation and see if you are eligible to file a mesothelioma claim.
  2. We’ll Gather Evidence to Build Your Case: We will conduct interviews and perform extensive research to document where your asbestos exposure took place and the financial impact that your mesothelioma diagnosis had on you and your family.
  3. Secure Mesothelioma Financial Compensation: Most mesothelioma claims result in an asbestos settlement out of court. However, our attorneys are prepared to argue your case in a court trial as well.

Average mesothelioma settlement amounts can be difficult to calculate. Every case is different, and a law firm’s past success is no guarantee of future results.

There are a variety of factors that can influence the amount of compensation in each case, including the severity of your asbestos illness, any lost wages, your medical expenses and more.

However, a few of our many past mesothelioma legal settlements include:

  • $12 million in pleural mesothelioma settlements to an Illinois laborer
  • $8 million to a Texas pipefitter and plumber affected by pleural mesothelioma
  • $7 million to a wire installer in California with pleural mesothelioma
  • $6.8 million to a Florida mechanic with pleural mesothelioma
  • $5.6 million to a Missouri engineer with mesothelioma
  • $5.1 million to a union HVAC worker with mesothelioma
  • $2.9 million settlement for mesothelioma to the spouse of an Illinois factory worker
  • $1.4 million mesothelioma settlement for a U.S. Navy veteran in Florida
  • $5.6 million settlement for a former airline industry worker with pleural mesothelioma
  • $2.7 million in mesothelioma settlements to the family of a plasterer in California
  • Over $5 million in mesothelioma settlements to a 52-year-old USAF veteran and roofer
  • $1.3 million in mesothelioma settlements to a construction worker in Illinois
  • $4.7 million in mesothelioma settlements to a New York laborer

Simmons Hanly Conroy has helped thousands of families affected by mesothelioma pursue compensation for their asbestos-related illnesses.

Get a free consultation today to see if we may be able to help with your case as well.

You may be eligible for mesothelioma compensation if:

  • You were diagnosed with mesothelioma
  • Your spouse or parent had mesothelioma and passed away
  • You represent the estate of someone with mesothelioma who passed away

Not sure if you’re eligible? During a free, no-obligation legal consultation, we can review the details of your claim and let you know if you have a case.

Compensation may be available through mesothelioma lawsuits and claims against asbestos trust funds.

Asbestos trust funds were formed by asbestos companies filing for bankruptcy in the face of mesothelioma lawsuits.

Today, there is an estimated $30 billion remaining in asbestos trust funds for those impacted by this toxic mineral.

How long it takes to receive a mesothelioma settlement varies from case to case. Our attorneys understand how important it is for families affected by mesothelioma to get results quickly, and we will work to get you compensation in the shortest amount of time possible.

There are no upfront or out-of-pocket fees to work with asbestos attorneys at Simmons Hanly Conroy. We only get paid if your case successfully results in mesothelioma compensation.

At-Risk Jobs & OSHA Asbestos Regulations 

Workers from a wide range of industries and trades were unfairly and unknowingly exposed to asbestos.

Common asbestos exposure occupations include:

  • Automobile mechanics
  • Boilermakers
  • Carpenters
  • Construction workers
  • Machinists
  • Oil refinery workers
  • Railroad workers
  • Shipbuilders
  • Steel workers
  • U.S. military veterans

Yes. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has three standards to protect workers from exposure to asbestos in the workplace:

  • One regulates construction work, including alteration, repair, renovation and demolition of structures containing asbestos
  • Another covers asbestos exposure during work in shipyards
  • The third applies to asbestos exposure in general industry, such as exposure during brake and clutch repair, custodial work, and manufacture of asbestos-containing products

Yes. In the construction and shipyard industries, employers must provide education and training for employees exposed above a permissible exposure limit (PEL) and for all employees involved in certain identified work classifications.

In general industry, employers must:

  • Provide training to all employees exposed above PELs
  • Place warning labels on all asbestos products, containers and installed construction materials when feasible
  • Educate any employees who perform housekeeping operations covered by OSHA standards about the dangers of asbestos

The Environmental Protection Agency’s “Worker Protection Rule” extends standards implemented by the OSHA to state and local employees who perform asbestos work, and who are not covered by the OSHA asbestos standards or by a state OSHA plan.

The “Worker Protection Rule” parallels OSHA requirements and covers medical examinations, air monitoring and reporting, protective equipment, work practices, and record keeping.

In addition, many state and local agencies have more stringent standards than those required by the federal government.

Why Simmons Hanly Conroy?

Simmons Hanly Conroy offers our clients a wide range of benefits and a proven track record with asbestos exposure and mesothelioma cases.

The benefits of working with Simmons Hanly Conroy include: 

  • 20+ years of experience
  • $9.7 billion in total asbestos results
  • 6,000+ families helped
  • 40+ asbestos attorneys in offices nationwide
  • Over $20 million donated to cancer research

With our decades of legal experience and vast resources, we are well prepared to help clients today. Our mesothelioma law firm has secured some of the highest amounts of compensation in the history of asbestos litigation.

Every client also receives personalized attention from our legal teams and has access to our on-staff nurses throughout the process — and after.

How Simmons Hanly Conroy Can Help

Since 1999, Simmons Hanly Conroy has recovered over $9.3 billion for clients with mesothelioma and their families. We have the experience and resources necessary to help victims of asbestos exposure across the country.

If you have a case, we will:  

  • Travel to you to discuss your work history and the details of your asbestos exposure
  • Handle every step of the legal process for you, including collecting evidence and filing your claim
  • Provide access to our on-staff medical professionals, so you can learn more about your diagnosis and treatment options

Our team is passionate about helping asbestos exposure victims and their families get the compensation they deserve.

If you or a loved one developed mesothelioma, fill out our contact form or call (800) 326-8900 for a free legal consultation today.

Simmons Support Team
Legal Reviewer Brian CookeReviewed by:Brian J. Cooke

Partner, Simmons Hanly Conroy

  • Fact-Checked
  • Legal Reviewer

Asbestos attorney Brian Cooke joined the firm in 2004 and is now one of the firm’s partners. He previously served two tours of duty with the United States Marine Corps after graduating from University of Missouri Columbia’s School of Law. As an asbestos attorney, Brian has built his legal practice on being a legal voice for victims of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. He works hard to put his clients first.

View Sources
  1. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). “Asbestos Laws and Regulations.” Retrieved from: https://www.epa.gov/asbestos/asbestos-laws-and-regulations. Accessed on December 30, 2022.
  2. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). “Occupational Exposure to Asbestos.” Retrieved from: https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/federalregister/1994-08-10. Accessed on December 30, 2022.