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Mesothelioma Lawyers

Passionate Advocates for Asbestos Exposure Victims

Mesothelioma is a very complex and constantly changing area of law. At Bailey Cowan Heckaman PLLC, we pride ourselves on staying at the cutting edge of mesothelioma litigation. We work hand in hand with our clients to ensure they get the medical treatment they need to combat this debilitating disease.

By meeting with physicians and experts in the medical field we are able to gather valuable evidence and ammunition to communicate our clients’ stories, and we get to learn from these medical experts to better our legal skills in this field.

There is not much we wouldn't do to help our mesothelioma clients get the justice they deserve.

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Mesothelioma Recovery
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Mesothelioma Recovery

73-year-old deceased mesothelioma victim (Texas resident) who was exposed through his work as a mechanic doing maintenance and repair on ground equipment at a major airport

73-year-old deceased mesothelioma victim (Texas resident) who was exposed through his work as a mechanic doing maintenance and repair on ground equipment at a major airport

Mesothelioma Recovery
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Mesothelioma Recovery

81-year-old deceased mesothelioma victim (Louisiana resident) who was exposed through his work as an erector in various plants, paper mills, and refineries in LA, MS, TN, TX, AL, and AR

81-year-old deceased mesothelioma victim (Louisiana resident) who was exposed through his work as an erector in various plants, paper mills, and refineries in LA, MS, TN, TX, AL, and AR

Mesothelioma Recovery
Attorney Fees & Expenses:

Mesothelioma Recovery

72-year-old deceased mesothelioma victim (Louisiana resident) who was exposed through his work as a laborer, apprentice, instrument mechanic, planner, and supervisor at a chemical plant

72-year-old deceased mesothelioma victim (Louisiana resident) who was exposed through his work as a laborer, apprentice, instrument mechanic, planner, and supervisor at a chemical plant

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An Entire Division Dedicated to Mesothelioma Litigation

Our firm has an entire division dedicated to mesothelioma litigation - and that distinction is crucial.

We have the playbook on nearly every hotbed of asbestos exposure. Through extensive research and investigation, we have identified and learned much of what there is to know about the types of job sites and other locations where people are commonly exposed to asbestos. A vast knowledge of asbestos products and sources is a large part of what our firm can bring to your case.

Let our knowledge benefit you during this crucial time.

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Mesothelioma Statistics

  • An estimated 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year in the U.S.
  • On average, people do not begin to experience symptoms of mesothelioma until 20 to 50 years after initial asbestos exposure.
  • Men are nearly 5 times more likely than women to be diagnosed with mesothelioma.
  • There are a few different types of mesothelioma, but the most common (70-90%) is pleural mesothelioma.
  • For the most common forms of mesothelioma, between 73% and 92% of patients live longer than 1 year, and anywhere from 12%-65% of patients live longer than five years.
  • In the last year for which we have statistics, an estimated 26,278 people died from mesothelioma worldwide (2020).

What Causes Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, heart, or abdomen. It is most commonly caused by occupational exposure to asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral that was widely used in construction and industrial products due to its heat-resistant properties.

Asbestos fibers can become inhaled or ingested and become trapped in the body, causing damage to the cells that make up the mesothelium (the protective lining around the organs). This damage can lead to the development of mesothelioma, which can occur years or even decades after the initial exposure to asbestos.

Occupations in industries where asbestos was prevalent, along with living in homes or structures containing asbestos, pose significant risks of developing mesothelioma. However, beyond traditional sources of exposure, several non-traditional methods can also lead to asbestos-related health concerns.

For instance, exposure to asbestos can occur through sources like plastic materials, aviation building materials, and factories. Additionally, workers in construction sites and individuals involved in kiln use may face heightened risks of exposure. Even the military, specifically personnel who worked on Navy ships, may have encountered asbestos exposure due to its past usage in naval vessels.

There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos, and even brief exposure can increase the risk of developing mesothelioma. People who have worked in industries where asbestos was widely used, lived in homes or buildings that contain asbestos, or have been exposed to asbestos through other means are at higher risk of developing the disease. It is important to note that smoking does not cause mesothelioma, but it can increase the risk of developing the disease for people who have been exposed to asbestos.

What Are the Symptoms of Mesothelioma?

Many individuals who were exposed to asbestos for a significant period of time will contract mesothelioma, asbestosis or other asbestos related conditions in their lifetimes. If you or a loved one worked in an environment where asbestos was present even for a relatively short period of time, you should know the critical signs and symptoms of mesothelioma.

The sooner you catch this condition, the better your chances will be. It is also important to note that family members of workers who were exposed to asbestos are at risk for mesothelioma. Be on the lookout and know what to watch for so you can protect you and your family.

The most common symptoms and signs of mesothelioma are:

  • Weakness in the muscles
  • Anemia
  • Dry coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Abdominal pain or chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Respiratory problems
  • Fever

When it has become advanced, mesothelioma may be evidenced in later stages by the following symptoms and signs:

  • Serious chest pain
  • Sudden, unexplained weight loss
  • Severe respiratory complications

How Is Mesothelioma Diagnosed?

Doctors can use various tests to diagnose mesothelioma, in addition to a thorough physical. These tests vary in effectiveness. Below are the methods of diagnosis:

Tissue Biopsy: A tissue biopsy involves removing a sample of a suspicious area to be tested for risk of cancer in a laboratory. It is a very common form of cancer testing. Doctors utilize three different types of biopsies to confirm or eliminate the possibility of mesothelioma:

  • Open biopsies are conducted under general anesthesia. Your doctor will remove tissue from the area of concern.
  • Closed biopsies involve a tiny cut through which the doctor inserts a scope. There is a very short recovery time in these types of procedures.
  • Needle biopsies require removal of tissue through a syringe using X-ray imaging / CT scans for precision.

Effusions / Cytology: Cytology is the section of pathology dealing with diagnoses of conditions and diseases based on the study of cells based on tissue samples. In a traditional biopsy, a sample of tissue up to several inches long is taken. Cytology specimens are typically much smaller and may consist of as little as a single drop of tissue fluid or blood. These samples are used for diagnosis and screening purposes.

A cytology specimen can reveal mesothelioma before symptoms have begun, which is important for two reasons:

    • Typically, by the time symptoms develop, the mesothelioma has already advanced dangerously.
    • Treatment for mesothelioma cancer is much more effective if the cancer is caught early.

Cytology vs. Biopsy

There are many benefits in favor of cytology screenings:

      • They are less expensive
      • They are much less difficult to obtain than biopsies
      • They are less painful
      • They have less risk of injury or side effects

However, cytology is not has accurate as a traditional biopsy. It’s important to speak with your doctor about your individual needs and what is best for you.

PET Scans: PET scans are most effective tools for staging the development of the mesothelioma and determining how effective treatment will be. Images from a PET scan will show metastasizing or malignant mesothelioma tumors, including developing cancer on the lymph nodes. This form of imaging can be used to determine if chemotherapy or other forms of treatment are working.

CT Scans: A computed tomography scan (CT scan or CAT scan) is a three-dimensional image of the inside of your body. An X-ray takes one image, but a CT scan compiles numerous cross-sectional pictures that are then combined by a computer to create a fuller picture. It provides views of any unusual, abnormal, or concerning growths, including cancer. For pleural mesothelioma, CT scans are the preferred test, as these images can pick up evidence of pleural thickening.

Mesomark: Mesomark is a tool that can be used in diagnosing and monitoring the development of mesothelioma. It is a blood test that measures soluble mesothelin-related peptides or SMRPs, in an individual’s blood. SMRPs can be used as a telltale sign of malignant pleural mesothelioma. Mesomark is available commercially and was the first blood serum-based test designed with mesothelioma sensitivity to receive approval from the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

Not all mesothelioma tumors release SMRPs. For this reason, doctors typically will use a secondary form of testing in conjunction with the Mesomark test, as per FDA recommendations. Mesomark can also be effective in staging mesothelioma.

In addition to SMRPs, other biomarkers that may be used by a doctor to monitor mesothelioma include:

  • Estrogen Receptor-β, or ER-β
  • Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor, or EGFR
  • 80HdG
  • Platelet Derivative Growth Factor, or PDGF

Read more by the Mayo Clinic about Mesothelioma Diagnosis.

Symptoms of mesothelioma may not become apparent until as much as 50 years post-exposure. The important thing is to make sure that you are taking action to protect your health. Diagnosis of mesothelioma can be difficult. Other, common forms of cancer can easily be mistaken for mesothelioma. You should be sure to tell your doctor about your history of asbestos exposure so that your doctor is aware of the option of mesothelioma from the start.

Doctors use four stages to determine the progression of mesothelioma cancer and its severity:

  • Stage I Mesothelioma – The earliest, least serious stage. At this, point tumors have not spread too far, only reaching one layer of the pleura and potentially the lining of the heart and diaphragm on that side. Stage I is difficult to catch because symptoms have not developed in most cases. Doctors will usually recommend curative surgery followed by aggressive chemotherapy / radiation treatment.
  • Stage II Mesothelioma – Even at this stage, symptoms are hard to catch, and may easily be mistaken for other respiratory conditions. Tumors have begun to spread.
  • Stage III Mesothelioma – By Stage III, the cancer has most likely reached several locations in the body—muscles, ribs, heart, chest wall, lymph nodes—but all on the same side of the body where it was originally developed. Doctors will recommend, in most cases, palliative options at this advanced point.
  • Stage IV Mesothelioma – Due to the difficulties inherent in diagnosing mesothelioma, unfortunately one in three mesothelioma patients will not be diagnosed until Stage IV. At this point, the cancer has advanced severely and surgery will most likely not be an option.

Read more about the stages of mesothelioma at the Mesothelioma Center.

Determining how you were exposed to asbestos is an important part of a mesothelioma lawsuit. Contact the mesothelioma attorneys at Bailey Cowan Heckaman today so that we can investigate your case and determine who is responsible. Let our knowledge benefit you during this crucial time.

I don’t know where I would have been exposed to asbestos. Can I still file a claim?

A common myth is if you do not know where you were exposed to asbestos, you cannot file a claim, because you would have no one to file a claim against.

If you are not sure where your asbestos exposure came from, BCH is here for you. Chances are, we can help you pinpoint where you were exposed and whom you could file a claim against. This allows us to protect clients who have been affected by asbestos. We help you seek the justice you deserve.

How much money could I recover in a mesothelioma lawsuit?

The amount of compensation any given mesothelioma patient or family member is entitled to varies. We generally fight to recover compensation for things like medical expenses, pain and suffering, funeral expenses, and more. For a more precise estimate, we invite you to contact our firm so that we can conduct an evaluation of your case. We can even meet with you personally in your own home so we can hear about your case.

For Us, It’s Personal

At BCH, we go to great lengths to ensure that our clients get the justice they deserve. We will often depose physicians, talk to the leading specialists in mesothelioma treatment, and meet face-to-face with our clients wherever they live. These complex cases often require long hours and lots of travel on our part, but it’s helpful and reassuring for you to know we have the resources and commitment to get the job done right.

Our lawyers handle many types of serious injury cases as well as a variety of types of cases within mesothelioma litigation itself, and we can say with confidence that our bond with our mesothelioma clients is the strongest it can possibly be. These are intensely emotional cases – we meet our clients at the toughest time in their life. During this journey, we get to know our clients at a very personal level. Even after a case has been decided, we remain in touch with our clients.

The relationships we forge with these clients are as important to us as any award or accolade we could receive.

If you would like to learn more about our mesothelioma lawyers and how we could help you, we invite you to get in touch with our national trial law firm today.

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