Learning that you have cancer is a life-altering experience. Finding out that your mesothelioma was almost certainly caused by exposure to asbestos through your or a loved one’s job or other exposure can make the burden of it even more painful.
We have worked with thousands of victims of mesothelioma from asbestos exposure and have seen firsthand the fear, heartache and confusion felt by too many of our clients.
While the idea of bringing a lawsuit—or the process of getting started and figuring out how to navigate the often complicated process—can be daunting, it doesn’t have to be. Those responsible for exposing you to asbestos without adequately warning you of the dangers should be held accountable, and we’re here to work with you every step of the way to pursue your rightful compensation, which can help with often sizeable medical costs as well as costs related to loss of work and productivity.
Our Experience in Mesothelioma & Other Asbestos Disease Litigation
Motley Rice co-founder Ron Motley (1944–2013) began representing workers injured in the asbestos industry in the 1970s. Motley led a strong team of attorneys in a tenacious discovery effort against asbestos defendants.
Motley Rice’s other co-founder, Joe Rice, began his career representing asbestos victims and their families alongside Motley. He has continued to be integrally involved in asbestos litigation and has been an instrumental figure in working with, and developing, many asbestos trusts.
Navigating the legal aspects of a mesothelioma diagnosis takes experience and knowledge that not all attorneys who claim to practice asbestos litigation can provide. Many attorneys also turn to Motley Rice to help with their cases due to our experience and resources in challenging mesothelioma-related litigation.
If you have questions, have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or an asbestos-related disease or if you worry that you might be experiencing related symptoms or side effects and want to explore your legal rights, we encourage you to reach out to our asbestos attorneys by email or by calling our 24-hour asbestos hotline at 1.800.923.4237. If you leave a message on the 24-hour hotline, someone will return your call within 24 hours.
Mesothelioma & Asbestos
Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that affects the mesothelium: a thin lining found on several of the body’s cavities and internal organs. Mesothelioma may occur wherever this membrane is present, including the lining of the lungs, chest cavity, abdominal cavity, heart cavity and the outer surface of most internal organs. It’s primarily associated with asbestos exposure as the irritation created by microscopic airborne asbestos particles can create the change in cells which causes mesothelioma.
Because these asbestos particles remain in the body after being inhaled, it may take years and even decades after initial exposure for mesothelioma to develop. There is no known threshold of asbestos exposure that is safe and even brief exposures to asbestos fibers has been found to cause mesothelioma or asbestos-related diseases.
Malignant mesothelioma can be difficult to diagnose early as the symptoms are often subtle or attributable to more common, everyday ailments. The most common symptoms of mesothelioma include:
- back pain
- chest pain
- enlarged abdomen
- pleurisy, or inflammation of the tissues lining the lungs
- recurrent build-up of fluid in the lungs
- shortness of breath
- weight loss
If you or a family member has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or an asbestos-related disease, you should consider having other family members examined for potential symptoms of asbestos-related diseases.
Types of Mesothelioma Cancer
This is the most common form of mesothelioma, occurring in approximately 75 percent of mesothelioma cases. This form of cancer starts in the chest cavity and lungs, and may spread to any organ, including the brain. Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include persistent pain localized in the chest, severe difficulty breathing, coughing, weight loss, fatigue and fever.
Comprising about 10 to 20 percent of mesothelioma cases, peritoneal mesothelioma starts in the abdominal cavity and may infiltrate the liver, spleen or bowel. Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include pain or swelling in the abdominal region, nausea, vomiting, swelling of the feet, fever, constipation, diarrhea, anemia and unexpected weight loss.
A rare type of mesothelioma, this particular form of the cancer occurs in about 1 percent of mesothelioma victims and starts in the membrane surrounding the heart. Symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma include heart palpitations or murmurs, chest pain, cough, difficulty breathing, fatigue and fever.
Also known as tunica vaginalis mesothelioma, this rare form of mesothelioma affects the inner lining of the sac surrounding the testis and represents anywhere from 0.3% to 5% of all malignant mesothelioma cases. In patients diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis testis, the main clinical symptom is a painless scrotal mass with fluid buildup (hydrocele).
Mesothelioma Cellular Structure
There are three main types of mesothelioma cells, which are diagnosed based on analysis of the shape and composition of tumor cell samples. Treatment options for all three types are similar, but some clinical trials and treatments target specific cells:
Epithelioid mesothelioma: Representing 50 to 70 percent of mesothelioma cases, epithelioid mesothelioma affects the tube-shaped cells that line and protect internal organs. More research has been performed on epithelioid mesothelioma and it has the best prognosis.
Sarcomatoid mesothelioma: Representing 7 to 20 percent of mesothelioma cases, this form of mesothelioma is considered the most aggressive and is often difficult to diagnose due to the sarcomatoid tumors’ resemblance to other forms of malignant and benign conditions.
Biphasic (mixed) mesothelioma: Representing 20 to 35 percent of mesothelioma cases, biphasic tumors consist of both sarcomatoid and epithelioid cells. Depending on the ratio of the two cell types, biphasic mesothelioma may grow or spread at varying rates. Diagnosing this type accurately often requires a surgical biopsy.
At Motley Rice, we can provide clients with a clear understanding of their legal options after they are diagnosed with mesothelioma. Our asbestos attorneys are positioned to fight against those responsible for harming victims and their families, and to help them obtain the financial compensation to which they may be entitled. We apply energy and experience to each asbestos client’s case and utilize our nationwide network of co-counsel attorneys to file asbestos suits across the United States.
Advocacy, Support and Awareness for Mesothelioma Victims
As part of our ongoing support for victims of asbestos exposure and their families outside of the office and courtroom, Motley Rice proudly supports and works with several advocacy organizations and causes, including:
Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization: ADAO is committed to supporting the thousands of victims affected by asbestos-related diseases through education, advocacy and community and political efforts.
International Mesothelioma Program: IMP was founded by Dr. David Sugarbaker in 2002 and includes a variety of disciplines from renowned cancer research centers Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dada-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard School of Public Health and Massachusetts General Hospital.
Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation: The Meso Foundation is dedicated to ending mesothelioma and the suffering caused by it, by funding research, providing education and support for patients and their families, and by advocating for federal funding of mesothelioma research.
The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation: Located in Toronto, Ontario, the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation is one of the world’s top five cancer research centers and is a recognized world leader in lung cancer research and treatment. Recent research includes groundbreaking studies into radiation therapy.