Mesothelioma is an incurable cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Since 1979, Sokolove Law has helped thousands of families affected by mesothelioma navigate life after an unexpected diagnosis — and get the compensation they need for treatment.

Learn more about how we can help your family by getting a free case review or calling (800) 647-3434.

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What Is Mesothelioma?

Malignant mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer that originates in the lining (mesothelium) surrounding certain organs in the body.

This rare cancer affects around 3,000 Americans each year, according to the American Cancer Society. It can take roughly 20-50 years for symptoms of mesothelioma to appear after the initial exposure to asbestos.

Jim Sokolove Mesothelioma Video Thumbnail
Video Summary: Jim Sokolove, former Chairman and Founder of Sokolove Law, explains what mesothelioma is and who it affects.

What is mesothelioma? Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lungs that primarily caused by exposure to asbestos. That’s the basic thing that people have to understand. It is a cancer to the lining of the lungs that is 99% of the time caused by exposure to asbestos.

Who gets Mesothelioma? We’re talking about people who worked in factories, worked around brake linings, worked in the military and found themselves in an unfortunate situation where the manufactures of asbestos put profits ahead of people, did not inform these workers of the dangers. People went to work, doing the right thing, and wound up catching an environmental disease that came about by the exposure to asbestos, when the manufactures knew about this and refused to inform the workers.

As a national law firm with over 40 years of experience, Sokolove Law has fought for justice on behalf of mesothelioma patients and their families, recovering over $4.7 Billion for clients across the country.

Call Sokolove Law right now at (800) 647-3434 to see if we can pursue compensation for your family. Our team only gets paid if you do.

What Is Mesothelioma Caused By?

Exposure to asbestos is the only proven cause of mesothelioma. Throughout the 20th century, the U.S. military and many private industries capitalized on the usefulness of asbestos, incorporating it into thousands of different products — from construction materials to car parts.

Groups with a higher risk of asbestos exposure include:

  • Auto or aircraft mechanics
  • Boilermakers
  • Carpenters
  • Construction workers
  • Drywall installers
  • Electricians
  • Factory workers
  • Insulators
  • Miners
  • Painters
  • Plumbers
  • Shipbuilders
  • U.S. military veterans (especially U.S. Navy veterans)

Virtually every U.S. Navy ship contained asbestos, which put U.S. Navy veterans at an even higher risk of asbestos exposure and mesothelioma than other military branches.

Sadly, anyone who works with or around asbestos can carry the dangerous mineral home with them on their clothing, potentially putting their loved ones at risk of mesothelioma as well. This is known as secondhand asbestos exposure.

The Covered-Up Dangers of Asbestos

Many companies that manufactured and sold asbestos products knew about the risks of this mineral. Instead of providing warnings, they deliberately hid the truth from the government and public to protect their own profits.

As a result, anyone diagnosed with mesothelioma may be able to recover compensation from the companies that made the asbestos-containing products they were exposed to.

Not sure where or how you were exposed to asbestos? We can use our databases of evidence and decades of experience to help you figure it out.

Billions Recovered Nationwide

At Sokolove Law, we’ve recovered over $4.7 Billion for thousands of mesothelioma patients and their families nationwide. Let us get you the results you deserve.

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Types of Mesothelioma

Together, pleural mesothelioma and peritoneal mesothelioma account for the overwhelming majority of mesothelioma cases.

Pericardial mesothelioma and testicular mesothelioma are far less common — but no less devastating for patients and their families.

If you’ve been diagnosed with any type of mesothelioma, reach out to our team for a free case review. You may qualify for compensation that can help with the cost of treatment.

Pleural Mesothelioma

Malignant pleural mesothelioma occurs in the lining of the lungs (pleura). It is the most common type of mesothelioma, accounting for about 80% of all cases.

Common symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include:

  • Chest pain
  • Chronic cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tightness in chest

Pleural mesothelioma is categorized into stages that describe how far a patient’s cancer has progressed. Unfortunately, it’s most often caught in the later stages, which makes it harder to treat.

That’s why the average life expectancy for pleural mesothelioma is only 4-18 months, depending on the stage and treatment.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Peritoneal mesothelioma originates in the lining of the abdomen (peritoneum), making up 10-15% of all mesothelioma cases.

Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma often include:

  • Abdominal distension (swelling)
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Weight loss

The average life expectancy for peritoneal mesothelioma patients is around 63.2 months with treatment.

Pericardial Mesothelioma

Pericardial mesothelioma originates in the lining of the heart (pericardium). It is one of the least common forms of mesothelioma, making up only 0.7% of all cases.

Pericardial mesothelioma symptoms include:

  • Heart palpitations (arrhythmia)
  • Heart murmurs
  • Irregular heartbeat

The average life expectancy of pericardial mesothelioma patients is approximately 6 months.

Testicular Mesothelioma

Testicular mesothelioma occurs within the lining of the testes (tunica vaginalis). It is one of the rarest forms of mesothelioma, accounting for less than 1% of all cases.

Testicular mesothelioma symptoms include:

  • Inflammation or thickening of the testicular lining
  • Swelling of the testicles

The average life expectancy of testicular mesothelioma is 26-36 months after surgery.

Diagnosed with Mesothelioma?

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Mesothelioma Cell Types

Each mesothelioma cell type grows and spreads at a different rate, giving them a unique prognosis and treatment response.

Mesothelioma tumors are made up of three main cell types: epithelioid, sarcomatoid, and biphasic or a mix of both.


  • 70% of mesothelioma cases
  • Slow tumor growth
  • Responds well to treatments
  • Longer life expectancy


  • 7-15% of mesothelioma cases
  • Rapid tumor growth
  • Responds poorly to treatments
  • Shorter life expectancy

Biphasic (Mixed)

  • 10-20% of mesothelioma cases
  • Mix of epithelioid and sarcomatoid cells
  • Life expectancy falls between other cell types

Getting a Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Early detection and diagnosis of mesothelioma are crucial to accessing and qualifying for curative treatments.

Mesothelioma is diagnosed through the following steps:

  • Doctors perform a physical exam, study the symptoms, and order a blood test
  • X-rays and CT scans look for tumors
  • A biopsy (fluid or tissue sample) is performed to make an official diagnosis

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact Sokolove Law now at (800) 647-3434. You may qualify for compensation that we can pursue on your behalf.

Misdiagnosing Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is often misdiagnosed because its symptoms are nonspecific and common in many other illnesses.

For example, pleural mesothelioma may be misdiagnosed as other respiratory conditions, like lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases.

22.6% of mesothelioma victims are misdiagnosed

People who think they may have mesothelioma should seek a second opinion from an experienced mesothelioma specialist to ensure an accurate diagnosis.

Mesothelioma Prognosis & Life Expectancy

Couple with DoctorA mesothelioma prognosis, which is the expected progression of the cancer, gives patients a general idea of what to expect after diagnosis and treatment.

Since mesothelioma is often diagnosed after the cancer has spread, the majority of patients have a poor prognosis, which takes into account both the:

  • Mesothelioma life expectancy (how long someone is expected to live)
  • Survival rate (percentage of patients who live for a certain amount of time after diagnosis)

Average life expectancy with mesothelioma is: 22 ½ Months

1-year survival rate for mesothelioma is: 82%

Factors that can affect a mesothelioma prognosis include the:

  • Age, gender, and overall health of the patient
  • Location of cancer in the body (pleural, peritoneal, pericardial, or testicular)
  • Mesothelioma cell type (epithelial, sarcomatoid, or biphasic)
  • Mesothelioma stage (how far it has progressed)
  • Treatment options (e.g., chemotherapy, surgery)
A Prognosis Is Not Final

A mesothelioma patient’s prognosis is not always an accurate indicator of the remaining length or quality of their life. Improving overall health and getting prompt treatment has helped many patients far outlive their original prognosis.

Mesothelioma Treatment Options

Specialists determine which mesothelioma treatment options make the most sense for the patient and create personalized treatment plans based on their health information, prognosis, and personal wishes.

Sokolove Law has registered nurses on staff who can help you understand your mesothelioma diagnosis and treatment options.

The most common mesothelioma cancer treatments are:

  • Surgery: Physically removing the mesothelioma tumors present
  • Chemotherapy: Using several rounds of drugs that kill mesothelioma cancer cells
  • Immunotherapy: Activating the patient’s immune system to attack and kill cancer cells or slow their spread
  • Radiation: Exposing patients to powerful rays of energy that damage the DNA of mesothelioma cells, shrinking them or preventing them from multiplying
  • Clinical Trials: Conducting mesothelioma cancer research to determine whether new, cutting-edge therapies may help patients more than standard treatments

Doctors will often prescribe multiple types of treatments at once to increase their effectiveness, which can be incredibly expensive — with medical bills quickly adding up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.


Average Yearly Cost of Mesothelioma Treatment

A cancer diagnosis is devastating — paying for treatment shouldn’t add to your worries.

Our team can determine if you are eligible for compensation to cover medical expenses and other losses related to your mesothelioma diagnosis.

Get Help Paying for Treatment

Our mesothelioma lawyers can fight on your behalf for the compensation you need. Take the first steps toward justice now.

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Mesothelioma Financial Assistance

Most families do not expect a mesothelioma diagnosis and the high costs that come with treatment. These expenses can increase stress and cause further complications at a time when patients should be focusing on their health.

Fortunately, there are many potential options for financial help for mesothelioma cancer patients and their family members. We’ve recovered over $4.7 Billion for clients with mesothelioma nationwide.

Our team can answer any questions you may have about mesothelioma compensation — and let you know if you qualify — for free. Call (800) 647-3434 now.

Asbestos Trust Funds

Some asbestos-related companies tried to avoid paying the people who were exposed to the asbestos in their products by declaring bankruptcy — but courts ordered these companies to set aside money for current and future victims.

$30 Billion

Estimated Amount in Asbestos Trust Funds

Many clients are able to receive compensation from multiple asbestos trust funds — without having to go to court or leave the comfort of their own homes.

VA Benefits

Veterans who developed mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos during their military service may qualify for compensation and other benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).


VA Monthly Payment for Mesothelioma, Plus Free Health Care

We have VA-accredited attorneys on staff who can help veterans and their families file mesothelioma VA claims and pursue compensation from the other sources available as well.

Mesothelioma Lawsuits

Families affected by mesothelioma may be eligible to file a mesothelioma lawsuit and pursue compensation by working with Sokolove Law, a national law firm that handles asbestos cases.

$1M - $1.4M

Average Mesothelioma Settlement Amount

The vast majority of these cases award compensation through mesothelioma settlements — sometimes starting in as few as 90 days.

“[Mesothelioma is] an expensive disease to treat. A lawsuit doesn’t bring back your loved one, and it certainly doesn’t take away what’s happening with the disease. But it allows you that flexibility that you can take this money, and you can pay for any treatment that your insurance company may not cover.”
– Mary Hesdorffer, Nurse Practitioner (NP)
Former Executive Director of the Meso Foundation

Fighting for Families Affected by Mesothelioma

We understand how physically, emotionally, and financially devastating it is when you or someone you love has been a victim of injustice. You are not alone — Sokolove Law is here to help.

As a national mesothelioma law firm, Sokolove Law has:

  • Decades of Experience: For over 40 years, we’ve helped thousands of families affected by mesothelioma get justice.
  • Billions in Results: We’ve secured over $4.7 Billion on behalf of people with mesothelioma and and their families.
  • Nationwide Reach: We have offices and mesothelioma lawyers in nearly every state. We’ll also travel to you, wherever you may be in the U.S., if you have a case.
  • No Hourly Fees or Out-of-Pocket Costs: Your legal team at Sokolove Law will only get paid if you do, so there’s no financial risk to taking legal action.
  • Registered Nurses on Staff: Our nurses can answer any questions about your diagnosis, treatment options, and more, while providing important medical updates to your legal team.

Don’t wait — call (800) 647-3434 or fill out our contact form today to get a free case review. Our team is ready to help 24/7.

Mesothelioma Asbestos Cancer FAQs

Who can receive compensation for mesothelioma?

The easiest way to tell if you or a family member may qualify for mesothelioma compensation is to get a free case review. We’ll gather some information about what’s going on and let you know more about your options.

You may be eligible for mesothelioma compensation if you’re the:

  • Patient diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer, or another asbestos-related disease
  • Spouse, child, or family member of a patient who has already passed away
  • Estate representative of a patient who has already passed away

What is mesothelioma cancer?

Mesothelioma is a particularly aggressive form of cancer, which is caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral composed of fireproof fibers. That quality is why the toxic mineral was used in thousands of products, from building materials to ship and car parts.

Asbestos can easily be disturbed and release microscopic fibers into the air. If these fibers are inhaled or ingested, the result could be a particularly deadly form of cancer called mesothelioma.

There are four types of mesothelioma: pleural, peritoneal, pericardial, and testicular. Asbestos exposure can also cause lung cancer and a deadly disease known as asbestosis.

What causes mesothelioma cancer?

Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral mined from beneath the earth’s surface.

Most commonly mesothelioma is caused by repeated and prolonged exposure to asbestos, and such extended exposure typically occurs at one’s workplace, where asbestos is being mined or used in manufacturing on a consistent basis.

You can also be exposed to asbestos during the asbestos abatement (removal) process or through secondhand exposure.

How does asbestos cause mesothelioma?

Asbestos fibers cause inflammation and scarring in the lungs. The body responds by trapping the fibers in cells to protect and lubricate the lung tissue. The asbestos fibers can cause mutations in these protective cells and damage the signals that control their growth.

Mutated mesothelial cells eventually grow uncontrollably, causing mesothelioma tumors that spread across the lining of the lungs or other organs.

How quickly does mesothelioma develop?

Mesothelioma develops 20-50 years after the initial exposure to asbestos. This leaves many mesothelioma patients and their families searching for answers as to how, when, and where they were exposed.

Let us try to find out what happened — and work to get you answers. Call (800) 647-3434 to get started.

Does everyone exposed to asbestos get mesothelioma?

No, not necessarily. Mesothelioma doesn’t affect every single person who has been exposed to asbestos.

That said, all it takes is a single exposure to asbestos for some to develop the deadly cancer. Many cases, however, involve prolonged asbestos exposure — oftentimes on the job.

How do asbestos fibers enter the body?

The most common way for asbestos to enter the body is by inhaling airborne fibers. Most fibers will become trapped in the mucous membranes of the nose or throat.

But some may be deposited within air passages in the lungs, and others, if swallowed, can also enter the stomach. In this case, nearly all fibers will pass along the intestines and leave the body through feces.

But if the fibers penetrate cells or become trapped within the lungs or stomach, they can build up over time and remain in place for many years. This can cause health risks such as lung cancer and mesothelioma.

How does mesothelioma kill you?

Mesothelioma kills because it is a terminal form of cancer. Pleural mesothelioma, which affects nearly 75% of all mesothelioma patients, attacks the linings of a person’s lungs, called the mesothelium.

Caused by asbestos exposure, mesothelioma occurs when asbestos fibers cross the lung surface and enter the pleural cavity. Over time, asbestos fibers can overwhelm a body’s defense cells and cause an inflammatory reaction.

As a result, the lung gets “trapped,” as it is no longer able to expand easily. Eventually, if the entire cancer cannot be removed from the thin layer of the mesothelium, a person can die.

Is mesothelioma always fatal?

Many times, yes, but not always. A variety of factors for each patient — like the type of mesothelioma, their age and health at diagnosis, the treatment options pursued, and more — can affect how long someone lives after receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis.

However, the prognosis for many mesothelioma patients is often bleak. Because it takes decades for symptoms to first appear, the cancer may have already spread to other parts of the body by the time it is detected.

Is mesothelioma contagious?

Mesothelioma is a cancer that affects the mesothelium, the tissue that lines the lungs, abdomen, heart, or testicles. As is the case with all cancers, mesothelioma is not contagious.

While some cancers can be hereditary, such as breast and ovarian cancer, mesothelioma is not hereditary. If multiple members of a certain family develop mesothelioma, it is likely that this is due to secondhand exposure to asbestos.

Secondary exposure can occur when a family member unknowingly brings home microscopic asbestos fibers that are attached to their clothes, body, or hair, after working around asbestos.

Can mesothelioma be inherited?

Unlike many other cancers, mesothelioma is not hereditary. However, ongoing research is investigating genetic predispositions to the disease. Certain genes, which are hereditary, have been found to increase the likelihood that asbestos exposure will lead to mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma sometimes appears hereditary because multiple family members will contract the disease after being exposed to asbestos, or even exposed secondhand, as in the case of a child with a parent who is exposed at work.

Can mesothelioma be caused by smoking?

Mesothelioma is not caused by smoking. However, smoking significantly increases the risk of mesothelioma. Studies have shown that cigarette smokers are at least 50% more likely to develop mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos.

Even if you smoked regularly and were later diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, you may still qualify for compensation. Learn more now with a free case review.

What are 5 signs and symptoms of mesothelioma?

The signs and symptoms of mesothelioma generally align with those of other cancers and include:

  • Blood clots
  • Excessive sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Unintentional weight loss and loss of appetite

Depending on the type of mesothelioma you have, you may notice other signs or experience additional symptoms as well.

For instance, patients with pleural mesothelioma may suffer breathing difficulties or chronic coughing because the cancer tumors have formed in the lining of the lungs.

Can mesothelioma be cured if caught early?

There is no cure for mesothelioma. That said, catching mesothelioma in its earlier stages and getting treatment as soon as possible can help patients live longer, potentially even for years or decades after their diagnosis.

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