Louisville residents should know that mesothelioma is a rare cancer but also one of the most aggressive. It occurs in the thin layer of tissue called the mesothelium, which covers the heart, lungs and other internal organs. The two major types are pleural, occurring in the lining of the lungs, and peritoneal, occurring in the lining of the abdomen.

Mesothelioma symptoms are not specific to the disease. Those with pleural mesothelioma will experience chest pain, shortness of breath and even weight loss. Peritoneal mesothelioma leads to abdominal pain and swelling as well as weight loss. Everyone is encouraged to see a doctor at the first sign of such symptoms, but considering the rarity of mesothelioma, one may be diagnosed with something else.

The number one risk factor in developing mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. Asbestos fibers were once widely used in building materials, insulation and car brakes. While its use has been restricted, the U.S. has not banned it entirely. Miners breaking up asbestos can be exposed, and workers tearing out old insulation may inhale dust containing the mineral.

It can take between 20 and 60 years for mesothelioma to develop from asbestos exposure. Living with someone who works with asbestos and having a family history of mesothelioma also raise the risk for the cancer.

While there are treatments for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses, a cure is impossible. It’s important, then, that mesothelioma patients be diagnosed as soon as possible. Sometimes, that correct diagnosis may never come, and the doctors may be to blame. In some cases, the employers who had their employees work around asbestos may be to blame. There are various ways that a victim of asbestos exposure could strive for compensation, and a lawyer may explain them.