Asbestos has not been entirely banned in the U.S., and besides that, it can still be found in older buildings in the insulation, tiles, shingles and other materials. What Louisiana residents should know is that this mineral, once so widely used for its durability and resistance to heat, has been linked to a rare but aggressive cancer called mesothelioma.

This cancer affects the mesothelium, the protective lining over many internal organs such as the heart and lungs. Mesothelioma patients may not know they have the condition until years after they were exposed to asbestos. Health care providers who suspect that their patients have cancer may conduct several procedures, including a chest X-ray, a CT scan, an MRI scan and a pulmonary function test. If any of these points toward mesothelioma, a biopsy may come next.

After Diagnoses

Once cancer has been detected, an oncologist may recommend one of several courses of treatment depending on the stage of cancer, whether it has spread or not and the patient’s overall health. These treatments include surgical removal of the tumor, chemotherapy, immunotherapy and gene therapy. Patients are expected to ask questions about each treatment’s advantages and disadvantages. They should always keep an open line of communication with their doctor and oncologist, too.

The cost and the emotional toll associated with mesothelioma treatment can be great. To offset these costs in addition to other losses like the income that patients would have been earning if they did not have cancer, it’s possible to file a claim. For example, those who used to refurbish old buildings may have been exposed to asbestos then, and they may have a case against the employer. Whatever the case might be, legal representation may be helpful, especially when the time arrives for negotiations.