Asbestos Related Diseases | Malignant Cancers and Non-Cancerous Asbestos Diseases

Asbestos is a known carcinogen with fibers that can cause a variety of health problems like Asbestos related diseases for those who get exposed to it. Generally, it can take up to 60 years for asbestos related diseases to develop, which means that workers who were exposed to the asbestos fibers decades ago may just be experiencing the symptoms in recent times.

Asbestos Related Diseases | Malignant Cancers and Non-Cancerous Asbestos Diseases
Image credit – nationalasbestos.co.uk

Asbestos companies should be held accountable for the harm they have caused every day to the lives of innocent people who were never warned of the dangers of asbestos. If you have been diagnosed with Asbestos-related disease such as Mesothelioma, there may be available compensation plans for you, just do well to reach out to organizations concerned with compensations from Asbestos companies.

Identification of Asbestos Related Diseases

About 125 million people work in environments that put them at risk of Asbestos Exposure all over the world. Statistics on Asbestos-related diseases show that over 90,000 people die yearly when exposure to the dangerous mineral material results in mesothelioma, asbestosis, or lung cancer.

The National Cancer Institute reports that since the 1940s, millions of American workers have been exposed. The Asbestos companies have fought off a complete ban on their products, although the U.S government has taken steps to protect workers in the area of work.

Many individuals who were exposed to the asbestos fibers years ago are just now being diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases and other illnesses, because asbestos disease take decades to develop and manifest symptoms.

These diseases were generally caused by microscopic asbestos fibers that got inhaled or ingested by individuals in the past and got stuck in the body. Once they get stuck in the body, the fibers begin to irritate the body tissues for many years gradually, before symptoms begin to manifest.

If as an individual, you begin to experience any health problems and you suspect it may be tied to past asbestos exposure, you need to consult your doctor and discuss your past work or service history. You should also learn about your legal right to compensation if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease.

Malignant Cancers

The Asbestos fibers are only known to cause Malignant Mesothelioma, which has been shown to cause Lung Cancer. Over the years, studies have also connected Asbestos Exposure to Laryngeal and Ovarian cancer. Further studies are being carried out to determine if asbestos can lead to other forms of cancer such as gastrointestinal and colorectal cancers, esophageal cancer, gallbladder cancer, kidney cancer, and throat cancer.

Mesothelioma

The Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that attacks the mesothelium tissue lining of the lungs, abdominal cavity, chest cavity, and many other organs of the body depending it the stage of the cancer.

There are four types of the mesothelioma cancer, they are:

  • Pleural Mesothelioma – which affects the lining of the lungs
  • Peritoneal Mesothelioma – which affects the tissue in the abdominal cavity
  • Pericardial Mesothelioma – which affects the tissue surrounding the heart
  • Testicular Mesothelioma

After a person initially gets exposed to the asbestos fibers, mesothelioma can develop 15 – 60 years later.

Symptoms of Mesothelioma include painful cough, shortness of breath, fluid buildup in the chest or abdomen, pain in the chest or abdomen, difficulty in swallowing, fatigue, loss of appetite or loss of weight, fever and lumps under the skin on the chest or in the abdomen.

Treatment options for the Mesothelioma include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, clinical trials, and holistic therapies. Although there is no cure for the disease, your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan that best suits you.

Legal help is also available for patients who have been diagnosed with the disease. Since Asbestos is the only known cause of this type of cancer, asbestos companies that failed to warn workers of the dangers of their products can be held responsible for the harm they have caused. Any affect patient can learn about his or her legal right to compensation.

Lung Cancer

Also sometimes called the bronchogenic carcinoma, the lung cancer can develop when asbestos fibers are inhaled and lodged in the lung itself, rather than just the lining of the lung. Bothe small-cell lung cancer and non-small-cell lung cancer can be caused by Asbestos. Majority of these cases are the Non-small-cell cancer which includes adenocarcinoma, large-cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma.

Symptoms of the Asbestos Lung cancer include chronic cough, coughing up blood, hoarseness, shortness of breath, swelling in the neck or face, chest pain, difficulty in swallowing, fatigue, and loss of appetite or weight loss.

Treatment options for this condition include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, clinical trials, and targeted drug therapy.

Legal help is also available for patients who are managing to cope with an asbestos lung cancer diagnosis. Contact those in charge of legal practices to learn more about your right to compensation as a patient living with an asbestos-related disease.

Ovarian Cancer

In 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) confirmed that occupational exposure to asbestos can also lead to ovarian cancer. Researchers suspect that the inhaled asbestos may move through the abdominal cavity to penetrate the ovaries, although studies on the asbestos ovarian cancer are still limited.

Symptoms of Ovarian cancer include trouble with eating or feeling quickly, bloating, abdominal or pelvic pain, and urinary problems such as increased frequency or the urgency to go each time it comes.

Treatment options available for this condition include hormone therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, radiation therapy, surgery, or a combination of options.

Legal help is available for women living in this condition due to asbestos exposure. To discuss your options for pursuing compensation for your health condition, do well to contact your legal adviser.

Laryngeal Cancer

Studies have shown that exposure to asbestos can also cause this type of cancer, although smoking and heavy alcohol consumptions are the most common causes. Researchers have noted that when the asbestos fibers are inhaled, the larynx (also known as the voice box) can get affected. The fibers can collect at the larynx, causing disruption in airflow, chronic inflammation, and cancer in some cases.

Symptoms of the Laryngeal cancer include chronic sore throat or cough, pain or trouble in swallowing, hoarseness, change in voice, weight loss, breathing troubles, ear pain, and a lump or mass in the neck.

Treatment options for this condition include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and clinical trials that involve chemoprevention and radiosensitizers.

Legal help is available for patients who have been diagnosed with this type of cancer caused by asbestos. Reach out to a legal adviser for help with how to get a compensation package.

Non-Cancerous Asbestos Diseases

Beyond cancer, Asbestos exposure can cause many other diseases and serious health conditions. Symptoms of these asbestos-related non-cancerous diseases can range from mild to severe, and many individuals do not begin to experience the symptoms until decades after their initial exposure. At the first sign of any asbestos-related disease, it is always very important to consult with your doctor.

Asbestosis

Asbestosis is a chronic lung disease that is developed when asbestos fibers stick in the alveoli, or small sacs in the lungs. Asbestosis is not a cancer, but it can have serious extreme impact on an individual’s ability to breath and quality of life. Asbestosis also increases the risk of developing asbestos lung cancer in a patient if not detected and attended to early enough.

Symptoms of Asbestosis include chronic cough, weight loss, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, tightness or pain in the chest, and clubbed fingers and toes.

Treatment options include pulmonary rehabilitation, oxygen tubes or mask, quitting of smoking, a lung transplant, and hospitalization.

Legal help is also available for patients who have been diagnosed with Asbestosis.

Pleural Effusion

Also referred to as Pulmonary Effusion or water of the lungs, Pleural effusion occurs when there is a fluid buildup in the pleural space between the lungs and the chest cavity. Through a chest X-ray or CT scan, a doctor can diagnose Pleural effusion, and a thoracenthesis may be carried out to remove a sample of the fluid and test it.

Pleural effusion symptoms include painful or difficult breathing, unpleasant coughing, and chest pain.

Treatment options for this condition include draining the pleural fluid, which may involve leaving a tube in the chest for a continual drainage process. Some pleural effusion conditions may also require surgery or pleurodesis, which involves sealing the pleural space so that fluid cannot continue to build up.

Pleural Plaques

The most common conditions associated with asbestos are the pleural plaques. They are commonly described to be “raised, smooth, white, irregular lesions” on the pleura, or the lining of the lungs and the chest cavity. Asbestos-related pleural plaques does indicate that a patient is at a risk of developing mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer, although it does not cause these disease conditions.

Symptoms of Pleural plaques are rare, although many patients tend to exhibit anxiety when they first get diagnosed. However, most individuals do not know that they have these lesions. For patients who experience symptoms such as chest pain, coughing, or difficulty in breathing, promptly notify a doctor as these may be signs of even more serious Asbestos-related diseases.

Treatment options include vigilant monitoring of other signs and quitting of smoking.

Pleurisy

Pleurisy, also known as Pleuritis, occurs when the two layers of tissue lining the outer part of the lungs and the inner part of the chest wall get inflamed. This pleura tissue is very smooth, allowing easy expansion and contraction of the lungs. When the tissue gets inflamed by asbestos fibers, the two layers begin to rub against each other any time an affected individual takes a breath, causing some severe pain.

Pleurisy symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, fever, and sharp pain in the chest that gets worse by breathing. Some patients also experience pain on the back or in their shoulders.

Treatment options for this condition primarily focus on pain control and identifying the underlying cause of the condition. A specialist doctor may perform a CT scan, X-rays, blood tests, an electrocardiogram, an ultrasound, and other diagnostic procedures to identify the cause of the pleurisy.

Diffuse Pleural Thickening

Asbestos-related diffuse pleural thickening, also referred to as DPT, occurs when asbestos fibers lodge in the pleura lining of the lungs and cause scarring that eventually thickens the tissue and interferes with breathing. When making DPT diagnosis, your doctor may use CT scans, chest X-rays and PET scans. A biopsy may also be done, to rule out Mesothelioma.

Symptoms of Diffuse Pleural Thickening include shortness of breath (dyspnea) on exertion and chronic chest pain. It can also cause a respiratory failure in very rare cases.

Treatment options for this health condition are aimed at relieving the symptoms of DPT in a patient. Such a patient should quit smoking and stay active. Recommendation of pulmonary rehabilitation may also be necessary. Surgery may also be done to remove the thickened pleura in rare cases.

Rounded Atelactasis

This is an unusual type of collapse of the lungs that is primarily caused by asbestos exposure. It occurs near an area of pleural scarring when a lung folds on itself, or due to pleural effusion. Rounded atelactasis is also known as folded lung, Blesovsky syndrome, or atelectic pseudotumor.

Symptoms of this may include shortness of breath, chest pain, or cough. However, symptoms are often attributed to an underlying disease such as Asbestosis, since most patients do not experience any signs of this condition.

Treatment options available of this condition of rounded atelectasis focus mainly on the underlying condition. The rounded atelectasis itself has no treatment.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

The Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, commonly known as COPD, is a chronic disease of the lung that is often associated with smoking. It includes emphysema and bronchitis. However, occupational asbestos exposure can also lead to this health condition.

Symptoms of COPD include respiratory infections, chronic chough, shortness of breath, excess mucus, fatigue, a blue color in the lips or fingernails (known as cyanosis), and wheezing.

Treatment options include supplementary oxygen, COPD medications, surgery in the lung, pulmonary rehabilitation, clinical trials, and holistic practices such as acupuncture and yoga.

Pleural Fibrosis

Pleural Fibrosis occurs when the pleura tissue lining of the lung gets scarred as a result of inhaling if Asbestos fibers. The thickened tissue can become so extensive that it causes a trapped lung, in rare cases.

Symptoms of the condition may include chest pain or inability to breathe. However, some patients may not even experience any symptoms. Patients living with this pleural fibrosis may be diagnosed with other asbestos-related diseases.

Treatment for this condition may include decortication, whereby the scarred pleura tissue is surgically removed, allowing the patient to breathe more easily.

Pulmonary Fibrosis

This condition occurs when the lung issue is scarred or damaged, which is possible when asbestos fibers are inhaled and collect in the lungs. This scarring, which makes the lung tissue get thickened and stiff, causes breathing difficulties and can lead to serious complications such as respiratory failure, right-side heart failure, pulmonary hypertension, and other problems of the lungs. This condition of pulmonary fibrosis also increases the risks of developing lung cancer in a patient.

Symptoms of Pulmonary Fibrosis can be moderate and slowly worsen over time, or they can progress quickly, depending on the individual. Such symptoms include weight loss, fatigue, aching muscles and joints, clubbing of the fingers or toes, cough, and shortness of breath.

Treatment option available for this condition may include oxygen therapy to help with breathing, pulmonary rehabilitation to help manage symptoms, and medications to slow down the progression of the disease.

In every region of the country, United States, people from all walks of life are susceptible to developing mesothelioma from an asbestos exposure. Always do well to consult a healthcare specialist if you suspect any of the symptoms mentioned, and take necessary measures to stay healthy and safe.

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