Q: How could I have been exposed to asbestos?

A: Asbestos was used in a variety of products across many trades and industries in commercial, industrial, and home settings. Some of the products that used asbestos include: cement, pipe insulation, paper and millboard, boiler insulation materials, firebrick, refractory brick, brake linings/pads for cars and trucks, ceiling tiles, electric wiring and insulation, heat resistant fabrics, flooring tiles, insulation in walls and attics, roofing shingles, siding on houses and commercial structures, spray-on fireproofing, vinyl tiles for flooring, wall panels and attic insulation, drywall and joint compound, acoustical plaster, and hot top linings. Products were used in a variety of settings including steel mills, schools, hospitals, oil refineries, power generating stations, railroads, chemical processing plants, sky scrapers, auto shops, homes, and more locations. Asbestos also contaminated many talcum powder and cosmetic products unbeknownst to consumers who regularly used them at home on their children when doing diaper changes and as an after bath and cosmetic or hygiene product.

Q: What is Peritoneal Mesothelioma?

A: Peritoneal mesothelioma is a tumor formed on the lining of the abdomen, or the peritoneum. Around 30% of all mesothelioma diagnoses are peritoneal mesothelioma. This cancer is caused by the inhalation and ingestion of asbestos fibers. While symptoms and treatment options will vary from person to person depending on a multitude of factors (age, location and size of tumor, other health concerns) peritoneal mesothelioma remains an aggressive and deadly form of cancer. Misdiagnosis of peritoneal mesothelioma is common, so it is important to mention asbestos exposure to your doctor even if it occurred decades ago. Early symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include unexplained weight loss, continuous fluid build up in and around the lungs (pleural effusion), abdominal pain and swelling, visible abscess protruding from the abdomen, and shortness of breath. Many people diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma are given less than a year to live. If the disease is diagnosed at an early stage, surgery may be an option which adds years to a prognosis. Chemotherapy and radiation is the most common form of treatment, and other treatments exist to relieve pain and suffering. For example, if there is a build up of fluid, known as a pleural effusion, a paracentesis may be performed to drain the excess fluid. While no cure for mesothelioma exists, doctors and researchers around the country are working to prolong the life of those diagnosed. It’s recommended to stay up to date on treatment options and clinical trials, and discuss them during regular checkups with your doctor.

Q: How much do your legal services cost?

A: Our office does not charge you anything unless you recover money for your case. We take the financial risk for your claim or lawsuit, and pay money upfront to cover costs and fees associated with filing and litigating cases. These costs are only reimbursed if you recover. Our office operates on a contingency fee basis, meaning we take a percentage of the total recovery from settlements or verdicts.

Q: Am I able to bring a claim or file a lawsuit?

A: Every case is different, and our team of experienced litigators will fully evaluate your case based on the circumstances and facts you provide. We’ll want to know and understand what happened to cause your injury, details on any treatment you’ve received, if you’ve missed work, and will ask a host of other questions that will help us understand you and your case. We’re also able to order records and other supporting information if you do not have it. After you speak with our office directly, we will fully evaluate your case, explain options, and lay out the best course of action for you. You can call us at 800-322-5573 or fill out the free case evaluation form at the bottom of this page to get started.

Q: Is there a time limit within which I must bring my claim or file a lawsuit?

A: Yes, there is a time limit to file a claim or lawsuit which is known as the statute of limitations. Statutes of limitations vary by state, and in some states vary by the type of civil case being brought. For example, in Illinois the statute of limitations for a personal injury case or wrongful death case is two years from the date of discovery of the injury. Time is of the essence when filing a lawsuit, so you should not delay in contacting an attorney to fully consider and evaluate your options. Our qualified team is standing by to assist you.

Q: What treatment options are available for those diagnosed with mesothelioma?

A: Mesothelioma treatment decisions depend on the overall health of the patient and specific aspects of the cancer, such as stage, location of the disease, and patient’s personal treatment goals. Some patients may want to use the most aggressive methods available to treat the cancer, even if those methods come with unpleasant side effects. Others focus on treatment options that prioritize comfort and living as symptom-free and pain-free as possible.

Different types of mesothelioma treatment plans include:

  • Curative Treatment: If the cancer is diagnosed early enough, doctors may use curative treatments to remove mesothelioma from a patient’s body with surgery, chemotherapy, or a combination of both.
  • Palliative Treatment: The goal is to alleviate pain and discomfort caused by the symptoms of mesothelioma.
  • Multimodal Treatment: Often the best course of action to attack mesothelioma is to combine two or more treatments, typically surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy.

After someone is diagnosed with mesothelioma, an oncologist can help determine the specific course of action by considering all aspects of the disease’s progress and the patient’s wishes.

Mesothelioma treatment options include:

  • Surgery: Surgeons may work to remove mesothelioma from patients diagnosed at an early stage, or to reduce signs and symptoms caused by the spread of the cancer. Surgical options may include:
  • Decreasing fluid buildup
  • Removing tissue around lungs or abdomen
  • Debulking: Removing as much of the cancer as possible
  • Removing a lung and surrounding tissue
  • Chemotherapy: Chemicals and drugs are used to kill cancer cells. The effectiveness of this treatment is often countered by a series of harsh side effects, including:
  • Blood test abnormalities
  • Changes in libido/sexual function
  • Chest pain
  • Constipation
  • Easy bruising and bleeding
  • Fatigue
  • Fertility problems
  • Fever
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Hair loss
  • Infection
  • Kidney problems
  • Low blood cell counts
  • Mood changes
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Poor appetite
  • Shortness of breath
  • Taste changes
  • Weakness
  • Weight fluctuations
  • Radiation: Radiation therapy is a non-invasive process of destroying cancer cells and shrinking tumors that can be used as part of a multimodal treatment plan or as a pain reducer. Patient survival rate has increased with improvements in the effectiveness of radiation and advancements in understanding mesothelioma’s complex biology.
  • Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy treatment for mesothelioma uses certain aspects of a patient’s immune system to fight the disease either by:
  • Stimulating the immune system to work harder in attacking cancer cells, or
  • Providing the immune system with other components, such as man-made immune system proteins
  • Clinical Trials: Because new methods for mesothelioma treatment are tested before they reach the market, patients may opt to participate in a clinical trial for new treatments. Some of the newer clinical trials include:
  • Targeted Therapy: Using drugs to attack specific abnormalities within cancer cells.
  • Biological Therapy: Using the body’s immune system to fight cancer.
  • Gene Therapy: Altering genes inside cancer cells in order to stop the spread of the disease.
  • Photodynamic Therapy: A photosensitizing agent or photosensitizer is given intravenously and absorbed into the body. The drug is then activated, producing a kind of oxygen that destroys the surrounding cancer cells with relatively mild side effects. This treatment option is being studied further while awaiting FDA approval.
  • Holistic and Alternative Treatments: Alternative and holistic treatment options for mesothelioma have not proven to be helpful in treating the asbestos-causing cancer, but complementary treatments have helped patients with some symptoms. Methods that have been shown to aid the symptoms of mesothelioma include acupuncture and acupressure, herbal medicines, yoga, and mental health counseling. Mesothelioma patients should consult their doctor before attempting any alternative treatment options.

Many victims of asbestos exposure who are diagnosed with mesothelioma are faced with a multitude of questions. Cooney & Conway has compiled a list of useful web resources regarding asbestos, exposure, and mesothelioma. For more information call 800-322-5573 toll free to speak with a knowledgeable representative. Or, simply fill out the Case Evaluation contact information form and we will promptly respond to your inquiry.

Web Resources

National Cancer Institute FAQ on Asbestos Exposure

This page from the U.S. National Cancer Institute’s Web site answers questions about the cancer risk of asbestos exposure. It provides background on what asbestos is, how it is used, where it can be found, and why the material is hazardous. Visitors can see what symptoms of mesothelioma to look out for, and how to better protect themselves from the dangers of asbestos.

Information Center for Malignant Mesothelioma

Another valuable resource from the National Cancer Institute’s site, this page provides information on mesothelioma treatment, research, statistics, and much more. Download the NCI PDF on Mesothelioma here.

American Cancer Society on Asbestos and its Dangers

From the organization’s Learn About Cancer center, this page explains the different types of diseases that can be caused by asbestos exposure -- and what animal studies and the research of mesothelioma experts and others have shown. It also provides tips on how to prevent exposure to asbestos.

Asbestos Information from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

This site details the most common sources of asbestos, explains what to do if you find asbestos in your home, and provides links to EPA publications on asbestos. It also steers visitors to agency regulations and relevant laws on asbestos materials, use, and safety.

Mayo Clinic: Mesothelioma

The famed Mayo Clinic weighs in on mesothelioma causes, symptoms, and treatment. Detailed are the various medical options for mesothelioma patients, as well as information on testing, diagnosis, coping, and support. Alternative treatments like acupuncture and breath training -- which won’t fight the disease but can reduce symptoms -- are also discussed.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

An online information center on asbestos exposure and its impact on health, this site offers advice on how to lessen the discomfort that mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other asbestos-related diseases can cause. Links help visitors find medical professionals who specialize in mesothelioma and other conditions caused by asbestos.

OSHA on Asbestos

This Web page from the U.S. government’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration steers users to the official OSHA standards, rules, and directives related to asbestos. Many links can be found here, to resources that include information on asbestos hazards, safety recommendations and guidelines, and asbestos statistics.