When facing a mesothelioma diagnosis, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed – by thoughts, by feelings, and by the uncertainty that lies ahead. It can be difficult to make sense of what’s happening, let alone figuring out what to do next.
As you begin to process your diagnosis, you’re likely to have questions. A lot of them. Having an in-depth conversation with your doctor about what comes next is vital. When it comes to something like cancer, knowledge is power. The more you know about mesothelioma and how it will affect you can better prepare you for the journey ahead.
At SWMW Law, we’ve worked with thousands of clients and their families at all stages of their mesothelioma journey. And while we take pride in handling the legal aspects of our clients’ cases, it’s also important to us to provide the support and guidance they need to better position themselves for success.
Here are a few questions to ask your doctor to help get you started.
How Did I Get Mesothelioma?
The only known cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos, a carcinogenic mineral that was used widely in building materials and consumer products through the 20th century.
While we know that asbestos is the underlying cause of mesothelioma, asking your doctor how you may have developed the disease can help you understand how asbestos causes cancer and identify potential sources of exposure that can provide important insight should you choose to pursue a legal claim.
Your doctor may deduce potential exposure sources by asking if you worked in an at-risk occupation or whether you lived with someone who did in the past. Because there is a lengthy time (10-50 years) between asbestos exposure and the onset of symptoms (known as the latency period), determining how you developed mesothelioma will focus on your work and potential exposure decades ago.
What Type of Mesothelioma Do I Have?
Following a diagnosis, you should ask your medical provider about the type of mesothelioma you have. There are four types of mesothelioma:
- Pleural mesothelioma: This is the most common type of mesothelioma, which makes up nearly 80% of all cases. It develops in the tissue surrounding the lungs.
- Peritoneal mesothelioma: The second most common type, which develops in tissue of the abdomen.
- Pericardial mesothelioma: This is a rare form of mesothelioma, which develops in the lining of the heart. It’s very difficult to diagnose and treat.
- Testicular mesothelioma: This is the rarest form of mesothelioma and forms in the lining of the testicles.
Regardless of the type, having a concrete assessment from your provider will be important in determining the course of treatment you take.
What Stage is My Mesothelioma?
Part of a complete diagnosis should include medical assessments of the extent of your cancer. If you have questions, ask your doctor about the staging of your mesothelioma. They may be able to provide a reliable estimate or proceed with additional tests. There are four stages of pleural mesothelioma. Stage 1 is the least advanced and is the easiest to treat, while Stage 4 means the cancer has spread throughout the body and is very difficult to treat.
Information about mesothelioma staging helps doctors create the best and most appropriate treatment plan. It can also be an important aspect in litigating your legal case, as details about the stage of your cancer can help support claims that seek compensation for your medical treatment and other damages.
What Are My Treatment Options?
The medical community is continually making improvements and innovations in the field of mesothelioma treatments. By asking your physician about treating your condition, you can gain a better understanding of the options available to you based on your unique circumstances.
Cancer treatments can be costly and take a profound toll on families. Fortunately, victims diagnosed with mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure may be eligible to recover compensation to pay for their past and future medical expenses, among other damages.
SWMW Law: Trusted by Mesothelioma Victims Nationwide
SWMW Law is an award-winning plaintiffs' firm that fights for victims and families who’ve been harmed by exposure to asbestos. If you or someone you love were diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, we can explain your rights and legal options for pursuing compensation during an initial consultation.
Our attorneys are trusted by colleagues and clients nationwide and offer FREE consultations. To schedule yours, call (855) 744-1922 or contact us online.