Perhaps your loved one put in 20 or more years on the job and was looking forward to retirement. Things might have even been going well to start, until symptoms of illness began to arise. Like many North Carolina families who have gone through similar experiences, you may have convinced your loved one to seek medical attention for a lingering cough and chest discomfort, leading to a diagnosis of mesothelioma.
If your loved one worked in a navy shipyard, in the construction industry, auto mechanics or any number of other careers, he or she may have been exposed to asbestos on the job. Mesothelioma is a terminal illness, although some have completed studies with a new protocol: Surgery for Mesothelioma After Radiation Therapy (SMART).
Life expectancy for mesothelioma patients is typically 12 months
When your loved one received a mesothelioma diagnosis, it was undoubtedly a devastating blow. Most patients with this type of cancer live one year or less from the time of diagnosis. However, SMART has shown promising results, with many study participants making it past the 5-year mark, post-surgery, after receiving the treatment protocol.
If your loved one were to qualify for SMART, he or she would undergo intense radiation treatments before having surgery. One of the radiologists who worked in the clinical trials for the SMART protocol stated that he has never before witnessed such promising results in a treatment plan for pleural mesothelioma. In fact, he, at first, assumed the results must be faulty because no prior study had ever shown such a high success rate.
Mesothelioma symptoms, treatment and legal issues
In addition to a lingering cough and chest discomfort, your loved one may have developed other symptoms after exposure to asbestos on the job. Such symptoms often include unexplained weight loss, lack of appetite, shortness of breath or a hoarse-sounding voice. Asbestos fibers are microscopic and may be in the lungs for years before these or other symptoms begin to surface.
Providing palliative care for your family member is a top priority as symptoms progress. Helping your loved one alleviate pain and discomfort may be possible with various medications. It may also be possible to arrange for a home nurse to visit on a regular basis to help take care of your loved one’s daily needs.
In many cases, patients have learned that their employers did not provide proper training, information or equipment to keep them safe in the workplace when they knew there was an asbestos risk involved. If your loved one believes this is the case in his or her condition, it is a good idea to reach out for support from someone well-versed in asbestos law issues.