Each year, approximately 3,000 patients are diagnosed with mesothelioma. As a rare form of cancer, there is a lot of confusion about the way the disease develops and the treatment options available. To help you understand the facts about mesothelioma and its related conditions, here is a list of misconceptions followed by detailed explanations of the true nature of this form of cancer.

Myth #1: Smoking Causes Mesothelioma

Many people assume that smoking cigarettes or any other kind of tobacco can lead to mesothelioma. But this is absolutely wrong. Mesothelioma is nearly always the result of exposure to asbestos.

It should be noted, however, that smoking does damage the lungs and may make an individual more likely to develop an asbestos-related illness. Mesothelioma patients who smoke usually have a worse prognosis overall.

Myth #2: Women Don’t Get Mesothelioma

Because men held a majority of industrial jobs in the middle of the 20th century, it’s often been thought that mesothelioma is a gender specific disease. That is inaccurate.

Although more men have developed mesothelioma because of the jobs they held, women and children also are vulnerable. They can develop symptoms from second-hand exposure to asbestos. There are numerous cases of people being exposed to asbestos dust brought home on a worker’s clothing or hair. Even renovating an older home can put people of both genders and all ages at risk for this disease.

Myth #3: Only Elderly People Develop Mesothelioma

It is true that the average age of a mesothelioma patient is 62. Yet that does not mean younger people are immune to this cancer. In fact, individuals who are diagnosed before turning 50 usually have the best chance of recovery. This is because they’ve been tested early enough and are often in good health.

Keep in mind that it can take 30 to 50 years for signs of mesothelioma to appear. So by the time people know for certain that they are sick, they may be older. But that does not mean you should avoid seeking medical care at any age if you suspect you’ve been exposed to asbestos.

Myth #4: Mesothelioma Only Occurs Due to Exposure to Large Amounts of Asbestos

Unfortunately, any exposure to asbestos is dangerous. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) makes it clear that the more a person is exposed to this cancer-causing material, the greater the risk of developing mesothelioma.

While being around a high amount of asbestos will increase your chance of becoming sick, even secondary exposure may lead to this disease.

Myth #5: Asbestos is Banned in the United States

While many countries have barred the use of asbestos, asbestos is still allowed in the United States, though its use is less widespread than it was. More than 3,000 products available to consumers still contain asbestos. From floor tile and cement to brake pads, the general public can purchase products that use asbestos as an ingredient to this day. For decades, manufacturers of asbestos products failed to provide adequate warnings of the dangers of their products. They can be held accountable.

Myth #6: There are No Treatments for Mesothelioma

It’s a fact that there is no known cure for mesothelioma at this time. However, a number of treatment options do exist. Patients have access to surgery, radiation and chemotherapy that may allow the disease to be managed.

Doctors and researchers continue to study the disease and identify more effective treatments and drugs that can extend the lives of today’s mesothelioma patient.

Myth #7: Mesothelioma Treatment is Unaffordable

The cost of mesothelioma treatment is expensive. But you may not have to bear that burden alone. There are ways to prove eligibility for compensation, if you were wrongly exposed. Attorneys who handle mesothelioma cases work closely with patients and their families to file a claim and prove eligibility for compensation. Obtaining a settlement can relieve anxiety about finances and provide some financial security for your family.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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