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Pleural Mesothelioma Compensation Solicitors - Personal Injury Claims - Australia

LAWYER HELPLINE: 1800 339 958

Asbestos related diseases have been recognised for more than a century however it is only since 1991 that the use of asbestos and asbestos products has been outlawed in Australia. Due to the long period of time passing (the latency period) between exposure to asbestos fibres and development of obvious symptoms, which can be as long as 50 years after exposure, it is anticipated that new diagnoses of asbestos related diseases will continue to rise until about the year 2020. Our specialist solicitors deal with all types of asbestos related disease including compensation for asbestosis, pleural disease and asbestos lung cancer with a particular specialism in mesothelioma claim settlements. If you believe that you are suffering from an asbestos related disease we are able to arrange for you to be urgently examined by a medical consultant. We are able to provide detailed legal advice and pursue lung cancer, asbestosis, pleural disease and mesothelioma claims on a no win no fee basis. Our pleural mesothelioma compensation solicitors offer free advice on personal injury claims with no further obligation.

Pleural Mesothelioma

Pleural mesothelioma is a malignant lung cancer and the most common type of mesothelioma (about 2/3 of all cases of mesothelioma). It is called "pleural" mesothelioma because it affects the lining or "pleura" of the lung, which is the membrane that surrounds the lung tissue and the lining of the chest wall.

Pleural mesothelioma is almost exclusively a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. It takes at least 20-30 years from the time of exposure until the lung cancer develops so it pays to talk to your doctor if you've been exposed to asbestos in the past. It is otherwise a difficult disease to diagnose without regular check-ups to show the presence or absence of the tumor.

Pleural mesothelioma occurs because the patient has inhaled microscopic needle-like fibres of asbestos that burrow through the air-carrying parts of the lung and settle on the lining of the lung. There they cannot be coughed out and set up inflammation in the pleural lining that eventually becomes cancerous. The connection between getting mesothelioma and inhaling asbestos was not apparent until the 1960s. In the meantime, people had been inhaling the substance since the 1800s.

Pleural mesothelioma symptoms aren't very specific and the same symptoms can be due to other lung conditions. The most common symptoms include shortness of breath and a cough. You can cough up blood or sputum. There can be chest pain that is located where the cancer is or be referred to the abdomen, arm or shoulder. These two symptoms are the most common ones found in the disease.

Other symptoms you might see in pleural mesothelioma include weight loss that is unexplained, a pleural effusion, which is a pocket of fluid building up between the various linings of the lung and chest wall, and night sweats, a common symptom of cancer.

Pleural mesothelioma is a relatively rare type of cancer so there aren't routine screening tests for the disease unless the individual has a strong history of asbestos exposure. Often, symptoms are present for many months before the patient seeks medical attention for the diagnosis of the disease. Doctors will do a complete history and physical examination and will do a chest x-ray. Unfortunately, unless there is a pleural effusion (collection of fluid), the chest x-ray alone may not show the tumour, which is often the shape of a pancake - thin and round.

The best tests for a pleural mesothelioma are the CT scan of the lungs with IV contrast and the MRI of the lungs. These provide three dimensional images of the lung tissue and can show up the tumours much more easily than a two dimensional x-ray. MRI and CT scans can show the size and shape of pleural mesotheliomas and can tell whether or not the cancer has metastasized to nearby or distant lymph nodes. These tests can also tell whether or not there are pleural effusions present.

Doctors can then do a thoracentesis, which is a test that can biopsy the suspicious area and can help confirm the presence or absence of a cancerous tumour.

The treatment of pleural mesothelioma involves surgery if it is felt the cancer is resectable. Radiation and chemotherapy can be done to direct treatment against the cancer cells.

LAWYER HELPLINE: 1800 339 958