Thursday, June 26, 2008

About Asbestos Cancer

Asbestos cancer is a general term for a variety of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Malignant mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer of the membranes that line the chest (pleural mesothelioma) and abdominal (peritoneal mesothelioma), is almost always due to exposure to asbestos. Lung cancer may also be related to asbestos.

Mesothelioma is sometimes wrongly as a lung cancer because almost two thirds of the diagnosed cases have an impact on the pleural lining, which predomenantly around the lungs. In reality, this cancer resides outside the lungs, but may affect their operation, because it is the task of the pleural lining to allow movement between the lungs, diaphragm and other organs such as this function (think of the enlargement and contraction of the lungs as the breath and expel air).

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that is widely used in everyday products, because it does not conduct electricity and heat-and chemical-resistance. These asbestos fibres, as loose, it can easily be inhaled or swallowed, and remain in the body for the year, eventually resulting in an asbestos-related cancer. Risk factors

The use of asbestos has fortunately has become more and more limited, such as restrictions on the increased in recent decades (not yet banned asbestos in the U.S.). However, the latency period in asbestos cancer is long, sometimes decades, so the workers who dealt extensively with one of the more than 5000 products containing asbestos - including floor tile, paint, automotive brake shoes, roofing and more - maybe are at risk for one or more asbestos-related cancer.

While the constant, regular exposure of these workers certainly seems the risk of developing an asbestos cancer, no known safe level of exposure. So it's not only those workers who are at risk of getting an asbestos cancer. The family of the employee members, who washed the asbestos-laced clothes and hugged an asbestos dust-covered dad just home from work, are also at risk.

Then there are those who never thought that they were working around asbestos: the do-it-yourselfer whose home improvements unconsciously brought him into contact with asbestos-containing products or Studen who attended summer school 30 years ago in that old building they were renovating the time.


Because asbestos fibers remain in the body so long, symptoms of asbestos-related diseases may only appear decades after the asbestos is inhaled. Voorkomende symptoms of an asbestos-related cancers include:
  • Shortness
  • A cough or a change in pattern cough
  • Blood in the sputum (liquid) coughed up from the lungs
  • Pain in the chest or the abdomen
  • Difficulty in swallowing or prolonged hoarseness
  • Significant weight loss
If any of these symptoms develop and you think you may have - or someone who already has worked with - asbestos, make an appointment to your doctor immediately.


Once you contact your doctor and explain your symptoms, the doctor may prescribe a complete physical examination. This can be a chest x-ray and lung function tests. While a chest x-ray can not determine whether asbestos fibres in the lungs, it can help determine whether your lungs may have changed as a result of exposure to asbestos. An x-ray specialist in asbestos-related diseases may be required to examine and interpret your x-rays.

If an abnormal area is found through the x-ray, it may be necessary for a biopsy to learn if this area is cancer. In a biopsy, a surgeon or a medical oncogolgist (a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating cancer) removes a tissue sample. Then this sample is examined under a microscope by a pathologist.

Because asbestos fibers can be found in the urine, feces, mucus, or material from the lungs, you may provide an additional tests to determine the extent of your condition.

I have been diagnosed with an asbestos cancer, now what?

One of the first things to consider is finding a specialist to help with your research and decide on treatments. Often the doctor who diagnosed is not familiar with the relatively rare types of cancer caused by asbestos and can not in the hope and help that a trained specialist who regularly deals with asbestos cancer patients can. More information about the various treatments available for asbestos cancer.

You can also contact a lawyer who specializes in asbestos lawsuits, the companies that manufactured asbestos-containing products knew the dangers decades before adequate warning and protection of their employees and compensation may be available for you and your family.


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