Which Asbestos Related Diseases Can Compensation Be Claimed For?

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Posted on: 22 March 2016 by James Brockbank

With an increasing number of adults being diagnosed with asbestos-related conditions being each year, we take a look at which compensation can be claimed for.

Since the true dangers of asbestos came to light in the 1980s and 1990s, financial help has been made available to those who have suffered from exposure.

Asbestos exposure can cause a number of different diseases, and it can be difficult to know what can be claimed for and what can’t.

Mesothelioma

What is it?

The most common disease caused by asbestos exposure is the mesothelioma cancer.

Mesothelioma occurs when cancerous cells grow on the mesothelium, which is a protective lining covering some of the body’s internal organs.

It most commonly occurs in the pleura which is the outer lining of the lungs but can also occur in the peritoneum (abdominal lining) or the pericardium (which surrounds the heart).

Most people who develop mesothelioma have worked in jobs where they have been exposed to asbestos for a long period of time such as construction or mining. 

However, it can also occur when asbestos dust and fibres are inhaled second-hand, for example when handling clothes of those who have been exposed.

Symptoms

·      Shortness of breath

·      Fatigue

·      Chest pain

·      Chronic cough

·      Weight loss

·      Fluid in the areas around the lung

·      Trouble swallowing

While on their own these symptoms might not be related to mesothelioma, if they all occur at once and for a number of months, it may be a case of mesothelioma.

Asbestosis

What is it?

Asbestosis is a fibrosis (thickening and scarring) of the lungs caused by prolonged exposure to asbestos. 

This condition particularly affects the tissue of the lungs, and causes a chronic inflammation. 

The condition causes a major shortness of breath and can place the sufferer at a greater risk of developing mesothelioma or other forms of lung cancer.

Asbestosis can be very difficult to differentiate from other asbestos diseases such as pleural thickening and lung cancer. 

Symptoms

·      Loss of breath

·      Chronic cough

·      Wheezing

·      Fatigue

·      Chest pain

·      Swollen fingertips

Lung cancer

What is it?

Asbestos related lung cancer is very similar to mesothelioma, but affects a slightly different area. 

While mesothelioma affects the lining of the lung, lung cancer affects the actual lung itself.

Like mesothelioma, lung cancer involves the growth of cancerous cells in the lung tissue, which can lead to metastasis, where the cancer transfers to nearby organs.

There are two slightly different types of lung cancer, but these slight variances make a big difference to the type of treatment received. They are small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) and non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC).

NSCLC is usually treated with surgery, whereas SCLC responds better to alternative treatments such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy. 

Symptoms

·      Chronic cough

·      Chest pain

·      Weight loss

·      Loss of appetite

·      Shortness of breath

·      Coughing up blood

·      Fatigue

Pleural thickening

What is it?

Pleural thickening refers to the thickening of the pleura, the thin membrane which covers the lungs.

It occurs when the tiny asbestos particles pass through the lung’s filtration system and get embedded within the pleura. This can then go on to cause inflammation and scarring. 

This thickening and hardening makes it much more difficult for layers of the pleura to slide over one another, which makes it harder for the lungs to expand when breathing, and causes a loss of breath.

Symptoms

·      Progressive breathlessness

·      Reduced chest wall movement

·      Chest pain

·      Chronic cough

It’s important to know that in cases of pleural thickening, symptoms may not be noticeable for up to twenty years, so may not be visible at all.

If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms and are worried that you may have been exposed to asbestos in the past, you may be entitled to compensation. 

The government recently set aside £380m to compensate sufferers and their families, with an average pay-out of £123,00. You can read more about the government compensation scheme in this article from the BBC.

If you feel like you may be entitled to make a claim, or just want more information, there are a host of claims companies out there such as the Asbestos Advice Helpline who are experts in dealing with asbestos related illnesses.  

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