Mesothelioma may affect one or more organs in the body, but none may be so difficult to come to terms with than that of a diagnosis to the heart, the most critical of organs. While pericardial mesothelioma is relatively rare even when compared to other forms of mesothelioma, it is without question a life-changing event for those who are affected.
What is Pericardial Mesothelioma?
Affecting less than 200 people per year in the United States, this particularly rare form of cancer affects the heart and immediate organs. The heart may become susceptible when microscopic shards of asbestos enter the blood stream and become lodged in the heart. It is typically triggered from the inhalation of asbestos, usually by construction workers who have handled and inhaled the carcinogen, or in some cases, where patients have lived or worked in a building that was constructed with this dangerous material or had a family member that worked around it. This is referred to as “secondary” or “family exposure”.
How Does This Form of Cancer Develop?
Asbestos is a material that was commonly used in many industries for its heat and flame resistant properties, and was most commonly found in products such as insulation and industries like ship building. New research has shed light on its carcinogenic properties, and as such, new laws have been put into place to limit exposure to asbestos.
Once the asbestos has been inhaled, tiny shards may become present in the bloodstream. Over many years, these microscopic pieces may lodge themselves in the heart and cause a series of adverse side-effects. And unfortunately many people have already begun to suffer the side effects and are being treated for asbestos exposure.
Side-effects to look out for may include:
- Respiratory: Wheezing, tightness of chest or difficulties when breathing should be treated.
- Chest pain: Acute or prolonged chest pain should always examined by a physician.
Diagnosing Pericardial Mesothelioma
The side-effects may present themselves as other, more common heart defects, and as such, should be treated with the same care and consideration. Initial diagnosis may include a non-invasive CAT-scan or MRI to assess the condition of the heart.
There are several different diagnosis treatments available and a doctor may recommend more than one treatment option to assess the full situation. The MRI is particularly effective in these cases.
Seek Legal Advice
The attorneys at Landry & Swarr understand that legal advice may be difficult to think about when facing complex medical issues. However, we strongly encourage you to contact us today and let an experienced, qualified mesothelioma attorney review your case, especially if you believe you may have pericardial mesothelioma.