Asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma cancer, are mostly a lethal diagnosis. Research has proven that asbestos exposure can cause a cancer that affects the lung lining called mesothelioma. While this cancer has a number of connected causes, asbestosis and mesothelioma are distinctively related with contact to asbestos. The grouping of smoking and contact with asbestos greatly increases the risk of developing mesothelioma cancer. The greatest concern lies with people who are exposed to airborne fibers originating from the asbestos material.
Ingestion of asbestos fibers either by breathing or swallowing them is the primary cause of asbestos-related illnesses. Under a microscope it is clear these fibers are microscopic and sharp. Because they are sharp, they are not expelled through coughing or mucus secretions and they become embedded in the lungs and stomach.
Inhaled asbestos is related to mesothelioma cancer – an uncommon and deadly type of cancer that affects the lining of several organs and asbestosis which causes scarring of lung tissue restricting the patient’s ability to inhale. Many people who have retired from industries that used asbestos heavily may ask, “What If I’ve had asbestos exposure? How can this affect my life?” Research shows us that people who were exposed to asbestos in shipyards or factories most likely breathed in high levels of asbestos fibers. This greatly increases a risk of mesothelioma cancer and other asbestos-related diseases.
The risk of mesothelioma cancer escalates with the amount of fibers inhaled. Patients with a mesothelioma diagnosis have either been unprotected from high levels of asbestos for a few years or low to moderate levels of asbestos over decades. The mesothelioma symptoms often do not normally appear for up to 4 decades after the initial exposure to asbestos.
Studies have found that people exposed to small amounts of asbestos in daily life activities actually do not develop asbestos-related health issues. However, if disturbed, asbestos fibers may become released into the air. Once the fibers are inhaled or swallowed, they can remain there for a long time. This extended period buried into soft tissue is what increases the risk of disease. Asbestos material that has been cut, frayed or sandpapered is more likely to create a health hazard.
If you have already received a diagnosis of mesothelioma and you smoke, stopping exposure to tobacco smoke will only extend your mesothelioma life expectancy. Make sure you seek expert care in a center that has expertise in treating mesothelioma. You will now require early medical care for any breathing illness to stop infections that can attack weakened lungs.
Individuals exposed to asbestos should notify their doctor of specific job history and exposure to asbestos. An exam, including a chest x-ray and a lung function test will most likely be recommended.