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What is the economic impact of mesothelioma?

On Behalf of | Jan 13, 2023 | Mesothelioma/Asbestos-Related Illness

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer caused by asbestos. For decades, the United States has seen nearly 3,000 new mesothelioma diagnoses each year. And these diagnoses create a significant economic burden.

According to a letter that the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) sent to the EPA in 2018, the healthcare costs of mesothelioma total roughly $4 billion per year. Since then, we have happily witnessed a gradual decline in the rate of new diagnoses. However, the cost of inflation likely means those healthcare costs are greater today than in 2018.

Victims shouldn’t shoulder the burden alone

Another report from 2019 also asked about the costs associated with mesothelioma. Although the report was published in 2019, it drew on data no more recent than 2014. This means you need to adjust the costs for eight years of inflation. Even so, the report claimed that mesothelioma cases meant an average of more than $24,000 in hospital care per patient per year.

The report’s authors noted the data was scarce and that costs would vary according by nation, timeframe and the different types of treatment involved.

Nonetheless, these costs exist almost exclusively because businesses continued using asbestos after they knew it could cause cancer. Those businesses dumped these costs onto the public with their disregard of public safety. And the irony is that the businesses have had other options. One of the sources the AAFP report cites is a report finding no significant GDP reduction in nations that have enacted full asbestos bans.

So, these businesses stuck with asbestos because it was easy. They promoted mesothelioma and other cancers in thousands upon thousands of victims. Then, when their victims sued them, many of these businesses filed for bankruptcy.

Fortunately, the courts forced many of these companies to create asbestos trust funds as part of their bankruptcies. These trust funds exist to repay these companies’ victims. This means that mesothelioma victims often have two ways to pursue the funds they need for their new expenses: They can sue or apply to the asbestos bankruptcy trusts. Often, victims can sue and apply to one or more trusts.

The cost of mesothelioma exceeds the cost of treatment

Victims and their families want to remember that mesothelioma means costs beyond the cost of treatment. When they seek financial help, they’ll want to remember the different costs associated with the cancer:

  • Treatment
  • Prescriptions
  • Therapy
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of companionship

This is not necessarily an exhaustive list. There may be other associated costs, and it’s important to understand these costs before pursuing repayment.

Thousands of victims need repayment every year

Typically, victims and their loved ones will work with an attorney to understand the value of their cases and to file any lawsuits or apply to any asbestos trust funds. The trust fund applications are often difficult, and the different funds expect different standards of proof.

An experienced attorney can help victims decide whether applying to an asbestos trust fund is truly the best course of action. Then if victims sue or apply to trust funds, their attorneys can help them assemble the appropriate documents and strengthen their cases to get the funds they deserve.

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