New York Mesothelioma Lawyer Says Lung Cancer Awareness Month Highlights Asbestos Dangers
There is no better time to educate the public about the health hazards of asbestos than during November’s National Lung Cancer Awareness Month, New York mesothelioma attorney Joseph W. Belluck said today.
“Many people think that lung cancer is a disease caused by cigarette smoke,” said Belluck, a lawyer who represents clients in lung cancer and mesothelioma claims related to asbestos exposure. “That is true, but asbestos is also a leading cause of lung cancer, and now is the time to keep spreading that message.”
Asbestos is a naturally occurring group of minerals that was widely used in building and construction, shipyards, the automobile industry and in products such as ceiling and floor tiles until the 1970s, when concerns were raised about its impact on human health.
Today, it has been recognized as a carcinogen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Environmental Protection Agency and the International Agency for Research.
An average of 437 Americans die from lung cancer every day, according to the Lung Cancer Alliance. Lung cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States and afflicted 157,300 Americans in 2010, according to federal statistics.
In New York, more than 13,500 people were diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009, according to the American Cancer Society. Of that number, 8,780 people died.
The dangers of asbestos extend beyond lung cancer, said Belluck. Asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer that attacks the membranes surrounding many of the body’s vital organs, most frequently around the lungs.
However, mesothelioma and lung cancer are not the same, the New York lawyer emphasized.
“Mesothelioma displays as a large mass of interlocked tumors that blend in with healthy tissue, making it difficult to operate on successfully,” Belluck explained. “By contrast, lung cancer is characterized by more distinct, individual tumors. That makes them more treatable, although the late stages can be just as aggressive as mesothelioma.”
In recent years, lawsuits have ensued nationwide against companies whose use of asbestos is alleged to have caused mesothelioma and other lung disorders – including lung cancer and the non-malignant breathing disorder asbestosis – in former workers and others who may have been exposed to asbestos.
“One challenge for people who have developed an asbestos-related disease like mesothelioma is that the disease can lie latent for decades,” Belluck said. “They may think there’s no way to proceed with a successful lawsuit after so many years. But that’s not necessarily true. Attorneys can help investigate their claims and advise them of what their legal options may be.”
Successful claims can result in compensation to help pay for the costs of treatment for lung-related diseases caused by asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma treatment has been estimated to cost families anywhere from $150,000 to $1 million.
Monetary awards can also help families cover other financial burdens caused by the disease, such as lost wages and lost future earning capacity, Belluck said.
“Tragically, you’re looking at cancers that are often fatal. That’s especially true in mesothelioma, where there is no known cure,” he explained. “But a good lawyer can help restore financial wellbeing and alleviate practical concerns so that families can devote their attention to coping with the emotional side of the disease.”
For more information, contact the firm at (877) 637-6843 or through the online contact form.