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Remembering victims on National Mesothelioma Awareness Day

People in North Carolina may be aware that Sept. 26 was Mesothelioma Awareness Day. While it is crucial to highlight awareness efforts and review the causes of and solutions to mesothelioma, most people affected by this terrible disease would agree that one day is not enough.

But Mesothelioma Awareness Day does provide a good opportunity to remind people of the ongoing threats that can cause mesothelioma. Asbestos exposure has been proven to cause this deadly cancer, but for a long time, employers and manufacturers tried to ignore this fact. Despite the known dangers, the fiber was commonly used in various household and industrial products because of its fire-resistant qualities. Military members and people who worked on ships, railroads or in construction were especially at risk of breathing in airborne asbestos without knowing how dangerous it was.

Unlike exposure to other toxic substances, exposure to asbestos may not affect a person's health right away. In fact, it can take decades before a person learns that he or she has suffered the tragic effects of being exposed to asbestos. By the time a person starts experiencing symptoms, it may be too late for treatment to be effective as this particular type of cancer can be quite aggressive.

A person who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma may only be given a matter of weeks or months to live. Because of this, a victim may not have time to explore their legal options in terms of holding a former employer or product manufacturer accountable for exposing that person to asbestos. In these cases, the families of a victim can take legal action in the form of a wrongful death lawsuit.

Compensation from these types of lawsuits can give families the financial support they need to handle the medical bills, lost wages and funeral expenses that can be an expensive result of their loved one's illness. It can also serve as an additional punishment to the negligent party who was responsible for the exposure to asbestos in the first place.

Even though Mesothelioma Awareness Day is only one day a year, the consequences of asbestos exposure is something that people deal with every day. By taking action against those who have contributed to exposing people to asbestos, victims and their families can get the support they need and hopefully prevent others from experiencing the same tragedy.

Source: News Times, "No amount of asbestos is safe to breathe," Sept. 25, 2013

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