Is Mesothelioma Contagious?

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Is Mesothelioma Contagious?

If you’ve received a mesothelioma diagnosis, you may have wondered, “Is mesothelioma contagious?”

Unlike common illnesses like a cold or influenza, mesothelioma cannot travel from person to person. However, the source of mesothelioma — a naturally occurring mineral called asbestos — can affect the people around you in ways you might not have realized, leading to serious health problems.

As a Michigan law firm with extensive experience representing local residents with asbestos-related illnesses, Serling & Abramson, P.C. know the intricacies of litigating mesothelioma cases. We have also represented family members of people who were exposed to asbestos and can advise you if your loved ones have been diagnosed with the same illness. Contact us for a free review of your case today.

How Mesothelioma Starts

To learn the answer to “Is mesothelioma contagious?” it helps to know a little about this illness. Mesothelioma is a rare and very aggressive form of cancer that forms on the mesothelium, the protective lining covering the lungs, abdomen and other organs. Scientists agree that the only known cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. This typically occurs in a workplace setting where asbestos has been used as insulation, a flame retardant, in cement, or other applications. Smoking does not cause mesothelioma.

Common mesothelioma symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Buildup of fluid in the lungs or abdomen
  • Pleural effusion
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Chest pain, especially after exertion
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Abdominal pain
  • Painful coughing
  • Unusual lumps of tissue under the skin on your chest or abdomen

Mesothelioma can also take a long time to develop — usually between 20 and 50 years from the first asbestos exposure to diagnosis, which is why it is still frequently diagnosed to this day. Unlike lung cancer caused by smoking, the risk of mesothelioma does not reduce over time after the exposure stops.

The Dangers Of Secondary Exposure

Most people who develop mesothelioma were exposed to asbestos on the job, sometimes only in small quantities. This is called “industrial exposure.” However, there are many documented cases of family members who developed mesothelioma after spending time in close contact with a family member who worked near asbestos. These family members inhaled stray asbestos fibers that stuck to the family member’s hair or clothing at work and were then brought back after their work day ended. This is known as “secondary exposure.

People at risk include:

  • Spouses and children who sorted and washed clothes with asbestos dust on them — in fact, secondary exposure is the main cause of mesothelioma in women
  • Family members who rode in a car with someone who had asbestos on their clothes
  • Someone who sat on the same furniture as a person wearing asbestos-contaminated clothes

Even someone in the service industry could be exposed: A barber or hairdresser touching hair with asbestos fibers in it, for example.

Family members of people with jobs in these locations are likely at the highest risk of secondary exposure:

  • Foundries
  • Plastics
  • Utilities
  • Refineries
  • Construction
  • Steel mills
  • Automotive
  • Chemical
  • Maritime/shipyards
  • Railroads

Sometimes employees in these industries don’t realize that they’ve been exposed to asbestos and often wear their work clothes at home and while interacting with their family. Even if they’re not wondering “Is mesothelioma contagious?” they are unaware of the danger they pose to the people around them.

Researchers also discovered that these family members had a higher risk of developing pleural mesothelioma vs. the average person. Pleural mesothelioma (mesothelioma of the lungs) closely resembles lung cancer. However, it forms in the protective membrane between the lungs and chest wall.

Know The Statute Of Limitations

There is a limited amount of time for people with mesothelioma to pursue damages, including secondary exposure cases. Don’t let the clock run out — contact us for a review of your case free of charge. We can help you get financial restitution for your losses and suffering, including money for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages and diminished earning capacity
  • Loss of consortium
  • Pain and suffering

Trust Experts Who Know The Territory

If you’re still wondering, “Is mesothelioma contagious?” the answer is “no.” However, the link between secondary exposure to asbestos and mesothelioma is clear and well-established.

If you or a loved one think you’ve been harmed by secondary exposure to asbestos, there are many reasons to contact Serling & Abramson, P.C.:

  • We have 50+ years of experience in this specialized area of law
  • We don’t hand cases off to attorneys in other states
  • We’re aware of the statute of limitations for asbestos-related cases and act with urgency
  • We will review your case free of charge

Let us get to the bottom of where your secondary exposure happened, and work to get you the compensation you deserve.