Oklahoma City Mesothelioma and Asbestos Attorneys
Mesothelioma is a rare form of terminal cancer. Mesothelioma usually develops in the lungs, with initial symptoms of shortness of breath and chest pain. There is no known cure. The disease is treated with chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and surgery.
Almost all cases of mesothelioma are the result of exposure to asbestos.
Almost all cases of mesothelioma are the result of exposure to asbestos. During the 20th century, millions of people had occupational exposure to asbestos, millions of people were exposed by living and/or working in homes and buildings that contained asbestos products, and millions were exposed through family members who carried asbestos home on their clothes.
Many millions of victims have already received compensation for their harms and losses or for the loss of a loved one. Thousands of additional lawsuits continue to be filed each year.
Famous people who have died from mesothelioma include actor Steve McQueen, football Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen, rock ‘n’ roll musician Warren Zevon, and Elmo Zumwalt, former Chief of Naval Operations, U.S. Navy.
If you are an Oklahoma resident who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or you have lost a loved one to mesothelioma, you should contact an Oklahoma City mesothelioma attorney to discuss your legal rights, which may include a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
Here are answers to many common questions about mesothelioma and asbestos exposure.
What is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that develops in the cells of the mesothelium, the protective membrane that covers many internal organs, particularly the lungs, abdomen and heart.
About 70% of mesothelioma cases are pleural mesothelioma, cancer in the outer membrane of the lungs and internal chest wall. Most of the remaining cases are peritoneal mesothelioma, cancer in the membrane of the abdominal cavity. Pericardial mesothelioma afflicts the sac that surrounds the heart.
What are the Symptoms?
Mesothelioma is difficult to diagnose because its symptoms resemble the symptoms of other more common diseases. People who have shortness of breath and/or other symptoms and have a history of asbestos exposure should make sure their doctor has considered a mesothelioma diagnosis.
- Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma (in the outer membrane of the lungs and internal chest wall) include shortness of breath; chest wall pain; fluid surrounding the lungs; coughing, wheezing and hoarseness; coughing up blood; fatigue and anemia.
- Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma (in the membrane of the abdominal cavity) include weight loss, “wasting syndrome” (cachexia), abdominal swelling and pain, bowel obstruction, blood clotting, anemia and fever.
In addition, mesothelioma cancer can metastasize, spreading cancer to other parts of the body.
How Does a Person Get Mesothelioma?
There is no known “safe level” of asbestos exposure that does not pose a risk of cancer.
Almost all mesothelioma cases are the result of exposure to asbestos fibers and dust. Asbestos is a microscopic mineral that can be breathed or ingested and can lodge in the pleural lining of the lungs or the peritoneal lining of the abdominal cavity.
There is no known “safe level” of asbestos exposure that does not pose a risk of cancer. Some people have been diagnosed who were exposed to asbestos for only a few weeks.
There are several ways people have been exposed to asbestos:
- On the job, including work in asbestos mines and mills; work for manufacturers of asbestos products, including insulation, flooring, shingles, textiles, cement, brake linings and gaskets; work in the heating and construction industries; and work at refineries, power plants, steel mills and auto plants.
- In the Navy. Many Navy veterans have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. From World War II through the Vietnam War (1930s to 1970s), asbestos was common in warships and submarines in such places as boiler rooms, engine rooms and sleeping quarters.
- In homes and buildings that use asbestos products, such as insulation, flooring and shingles. This includes the people who live or work in such buildings, as well as people who service such buildings, including electricians, plumbers, boilermakers, carpenters, mechanics and machinists.
- Family members of people who carried asbestos home from their workplaces on their clothes.
How Long After Exposure is a Person Affected?
A diagnosis rarely occurs less than 15 years after exposure.
It often takes from 20 to as many as 50 years after asbestos exposure before symptoms result in a mesothelioma diagnosis. A diagnosis rarely occurs less than 15 years after exposure. The median latency period in one study was 32 years.
Thus, people who were exposed to asbestos from the late 1960s through the 1980s are only now being diagnosed.
How Common is it?
Incidence of mesothelioma is rare. In the U.S., there are about 2,500 to 3,000 diagnoses each year. That calculates to 0.001% of the population. However, 3,000 lives is more than the number of people killed in the infamous 9/11 Twin Tower attacks; and in the case of mesothelioma, it is a number that is repeated with new diagnoses each year.
Applying that percentage to Oklahoma’s 3.9 million people indicates that at least a few dozen mesothelioma cases are or should be diagnosed in the Sooner State each year.
What is the Treatment?
There is no known cure for mesothelioma. Doctors treat the symptoms and attempt to prolong the lives of patients through chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery.
Legal Options Available for Victims
More than 65 asbestos trust funds holding billions of dollars have been set up to compensate workers and other victims.
Hundreds of thousands of lawsuits have been filed over several decades over the adverse effects of asbestos exposure and mesothelioma. Most lawsuits fall into one of two categories:
- Personal injury: For those who are still alive and dealing with the personal tragedy of mesothelioma.
- Wrongful death: For those who have lost loved ones to this cancer.
It has been proved that asbestos manufacturers and distributors knew about the harmful effects of mesothelioma for decades and concealed that truth from the public. Plaintiffs diagnosed with mesothelioma who can prove their exposure to asbestos have a strong expectation of recovery. More than 65 asbestos trust funds holding billions of dollars have been set up to compensate workers and other victims.
What is the Statute of Limitations in Oklahoma?
Two years. Although the details of individual cases vary, in general, a mesothelioma personal injury lawsuit must be filed within two years of being diagnosed with the disease. A wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within two years of the death.
Our Attorneys Can Help
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or have lost a loved one to the disease, contact our law office for a free consultation. You may contact us by telephone at 866-416-4737.