Malignant Mesothelioma Lawyers Serving Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse, NY

Malignant mesothelioma is a cancerous form of mesothelioma with a low survival rate. It primarily affects the lungs, but can also affect the abdomen lining, heart lining, or testicles.

The New York State Department of Health classifies this as a rare disease, although there are approximately 200 new cases diagnosed in New York each year.

Malignant mesothelioma is caused by exposure to a fibrous mineral called asbestos, which was heavily used in construction, building materials, and mining operations through the late 1970s. Many asbestos products are still in use today.

Many hazardous sites of heavy exposure exist in and around Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and areas across New York, and there are a number of industries, occupations, and trades that have exposed workers to deadly asbestos fibers.  Unfortunately, many of the workers and their families never know about their exposure, as the symptoms of malignant mesothelioma can take over 20 years to appear.

The experienced malignant mesothelioma lawyers at Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford are dedicated to focusing on helping victims who have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma.

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with this devastating condition there is a limited window of time for action. Let us provide the help and support you need during this trying time.

What Is Malignant Mesothelioma?

When tumors are found in the body and determined to be cancerous, they’re referred to as malignant.

Malignant Mesothelioma Attorneys - Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford - Asbestos Exposure Lawyers

Malignant mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of organs in your body. The most common form occurs in the lining of the lungs. The second most common form is when tumors develop in the lining of the abdomen itself, where most of your major organs are housed.

A rarer version of this disease occurs when tumors develop on the lining of the heart, while the rarest form occurs when tumors develop in the lining of the testicles.

Approximately 3,000 Americans discover they have malignant mesothelioma each year. Unfortunately, many of those people do not live more than 12 months after their diagnosis. Over 80% of patients die within five years.

Malignant mesothelioma has a low survival rate in part because it can take over 20 years for symptoms to appear.

Pleural Mesothelioma

Malignant pleural mesothelioma happens when cancer develops in the lining of the lungs as a result of asbestos exposure. 75% of people diagnosed with mesothelioma have this type of condition.

Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, and much of that exposure comes through airborne dust and microparticles. When these particles are breathed in, they lodge in the lungs and become a long-term irritant that the body cannot absorb or discard.

Pleural malignant mesothelioma is too often mistaken for general lung cancer, even in people who have never smoked cigarettes.

Symptoms are similar, such as:

  • A persistent cough
  • Chest pain or heaviness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Fatigue and lethargy
  • Unplanned weight loss
  • Shoulder or upper back pain

If this type of malignant mesothelioma is discovered early enough, it may be treatable through surgery. Doctors may be able to remove tumors, remove the lining of the lungs, or remove the afflicted lung. Successful treatment may improve life expectancy by two to five years.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Malignant peritoneal mesothelioma is a cancer in the lining of your abdomen. The abdomen is a large cavity that houses the body’s primary organs, such as the liver, stomach, spleen, and intestines.

When malignant mesothelioma of the abdomen progresses into later stages, it can mean that one or more organs also have a cancerous mass.

Some of the ways this type of mesothelioma can manifest include:

  • Abdominal distention and swelling
  • Vomiting with or without blood
  • Diarrhea with or without blood
  • Nausea or loss of appetite
  • General fatigue
  • General stomach pain

As with other forms of malignant mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma is caused by swallowing or breathing in minute particles of asbestos. This exposure can happen by working with asbestos products on a job site or by living near a manufacturer or mine.

Peritoneal mesothelioma is frequently misdiagnosed because it has symptoms that mimic many other disorders.

Some patients are diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome), Crohn’s disease, or similar digestive problems instead.

A wrong diagnosis can delay the appropriate treatment and dramatically shorten the patient’s life.

The experienced malignant mesothelioma lawyers at Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford, LLC can review the facts of your case and determine whether you might have cause to a medical malpractice suit, which can help you to offset medical bills and lost time from work.

Testicular Mesothelioma

While rare, malignant mesothelioma can sometimes develop in the lining of the testicles. As with other forms of mesothelioma, this type of cancer can be overlooked or diagnosed.

The primary indications of a problem include inflammation of the testicle lining or swelling of the testes.

Pericardial Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma of the heart, or pericardial malignant mesothelioma, is quite rare. This is when tumors and cancerous cells develop in the lining of the heart.

When a patient is diagnosed with this version of the disease, they will not likely live another six months from the time of their diagnosis.

Unfortunately, the symptoms are quite generic—irregular heartbeat, heart palpitations, or heart murmur—and can make it easy for doctors to misdiagnose a patient.

Who Is Most Likely to Get Malignant Mesothelioma?

The only verifiable cause of this type of cancer is asbestos. Asbestos is a fibrous mineral favored in manufacturing because of its resistance to heat. It was extremely popular as an ingredient in a variety of building supplies and household products for decades.

Some of the myriad of products manufactured with asbestos include:

  • Drywall
  • Roof shingles
  • Fire retardant spray
  • Building insulation
  • Pipe insulation
  • Electrical wiring
  • Automobile brake pads
  • Welding rods
  • Fertilizer
  • Weedkiller
  • Plastics and molding

Due to its extensive use in building materials, the majority of people who develop malignant mesothelioma from asbestos exposure are blue-collar workers and skilled tradespeople. Military veterans are another high-risk group, specifically those who worked on Navy ships or in Navy shipyards.

Malignant Mesothelioma Attorneys Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford, LLC - Navy Shipyard Asbestos Exposure

While the workers themselves were exposed to asbestos-laden products, their families were also exposed through secondary means.

When a person came home from work with asbestos dust all over their clothing, body, and hair, they easily transferred that harmful material to anyone else living in the household.

Secondary exposure has also happened to people who lived in neighborhoods that were within a mile or two of manufacturing or mining facilities. Notable local examples include North Tonawanda and Jefferson County, New York.

The malignant mesothelioma attorneys at Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford help victims of malignant mesothelioma in Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse, NY, every day, and we can be here for you, too.

Is Malignant Mesothelioma Treatable?

The treatment options used for malignant mesothelioma depend greatly on how far the cancer has advanced. The disease must first be accurately diagnosed, after which treatment options can be reviewed.

To diagnose malignant mesothelioma, a doctor may order a CT scan and X-ray to look for evidence of tumors inside the body. They may also take a biopsy, or a tissue sample, from the problem area.

Taking a tissue sample and testing it in a laboratory is the only way to accurately diagnose this disease. The diagnosis will also help to determine which stage of progression the patient is in.

Four Stages of Malignant Mesothelioma

Stage 1 of this disease has the longest survival rate because there are more treatment options available. When mesothelioma is discovered this early, it means the cancer has not had time to spread. Surgeons may be able to remove all visible tumors and provide the patient another five years of life.

Stage 2 occurs when mesothelioma has begun to spread. It has not spread too far yet, and surgery may still be an option if the patient is healthy enough to withstand treatment.

Surgery at this stage might entail removing part or all of the lining of the cancerous area or removing organs. Chemotherapy drugs may also be used in combination with a surgical treatment approach.

Most patients have already reached Stage 3 of their malignant mesothelioma by the time they are accurately diagnosed. This is a more advanced stage and surgery is not generally an option for patients at this point.

One or more chemotherapy drugs will likely be used to help slow the growth of new tumors. Sometimes, these medications can also help shrink existing tumors, which is why they’re used in combination with other treatment approaches.

In some cases, radiation is also used. This treatment uses lasers to kill the cancerous cells. While this treatment is painless, it will unfortunately also kill healthy cells.

Stage 4 of malignant mesothelioma happens when the cancer has spread through a large portion of the body. The only treatment at this point is to manage pain and help the patient live comfortably. Most patients in this stage live less than 12 months after diagnosis.

Contact Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford for a Free Consultation

People who have malignant mesothelioma may qualify for substantial financial help if they act in time. The state of New York allows a victim to file for compensation up to three years after being diagnosed.

Since this disease progresses so fast, however, sometimes the legal action is left to surviving family members instead.

Victims and their families may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation is designed to compensate employees for injuries or illnesses that occurred on the job.

At Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford, our skilled malignant mesothelioma lawyers know what it takes to pursue compensation for the condition using a variety of legal strategies. We even have a workers’ compensation attorney on staff who can help you recover medical bill costs if you were exposed at work.

Many other legal options exist. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, please contact us today for a free and confidential evaluation.

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