Pittsburgh Asbestos And Mesothelioma Blog

Remembering September 11th: Victims and asbestos exposure

Of those who have faced struggles with asbestos in recent years, some include the workers who fought to save lives on 9/11. The attack, which happened 18 years ago, affected many of these first responders, causing them to suffer from serious medical conditions. Many suffer from chronic diseases and cancers, some of which are a result of asbestos exposure.

The World Trade Center Health Program cares for over 76,000 rescue and recovery workers who were at the scene among others. Over 50% of the people who are cared for have chronic medical conditions, with cancer being a major concern among them. Cancers of longer latency, like mesothelioma, are of current concern.

What is secondary asbestos exposure?

You've likely heard the dangers of second-hand cigarette smoke? If you're a baby boomer or older, you can probably recall a time when not many people knew smoking cigarettes was bad for their health. A few decades ago, that news hit the headlines after scientists and health experts confirmed that smoking cigarettes can cause lung cancer and other illnesses. In fact, you don't even have to be the one who smokes the cigarettes because the specialists also determined that secondary smoke is dangerous, too.

In Pittsburgh and other Pennsylvania regions, there's another silent killer that is dangerous to those exposed to it on a secondary basis: asbestos. You might wonder how one would even come to have an exposure to asbestos second-hand, especially if you've heard that most people who receive asbestos injuries suffer them in the workplace. It is well-known now that secondary exposure is possible, which is why it's critical to know where to turn for support if you or your loved one falls ill.

Are the number of mesothelioma cases dropping?

As someone who is now dealing with mesothelioma, one question may be on your mind: Are the number of cases dropping since asbestos is used less often? It's long been said that after those who were exposed in the past were diagnosed, the number of cases would decline.

It was claimed that pleural mesothelioma cases would peak between 2000 and 2005, since the majority of workers who were exposed would have symptoms by this point. The trouble is that the peak that was described did not happen.

Mesothelioma patients typically experience 3 stages

If you worked in a Pennsylvania coalmine, factory or shipyard, you might have been exposed to asbestos at some point in your career. Living in a home or going to a school that was built in the 1970s or earlier also poses a risk for asbestos exposure. Contracting an asbestos-related illness such as mesothelioma is not typically immediately apparent.

This is because it usually takes years for symptoms to develop. Once a doctor diagnoses your illness, it is likely to pass through certain stages. The more the disease progresses, the more specialized care and assistance you are bound to need. This is why it's good to know ahead of time what type of medical, financial, health care and legal resources are available.

Despite warnings decades ago, asbestos is still used in the U.S.

There are many important things to know about asbestos, including how significantly asbestos has affected people who have been exposed to it. Did you know that the U.S. is the only western industrial nation that has not banned asbestos? That's despite the fact that the International Agency for Research on Cancer declared that asbestos is a carcinogen over 40 years ago.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that one in three deaths that result from occupational cancers are believed to be caused by asbestos exposure at work. With asbestos still being used in the U.S., it's no surprise that many people are still affected by the diseases and illnesses that asbestos can cause.

Patients with mesothelioma may benefit from high-calorie diet

Mesothelioma is a serious form of cancer that develops as a result of asbestos exposure in the majority of patients with this condition. While there are a number of therapies that can be used to help address the pain and issues associated with the spread of this cancer, the majority of treatments are focused on improving a patient's quality of life and not on curing the condition. As of 2019, there is no cure for mesothelioma.

In a recent article from Cancer Updates, Research & Education, an important discussion about the impact of diet and nutrition on patients with mesothelioma was released. Having good muscle mass and a nutritious diet, it's believed, could help patients with this condition recover from the impact of treatment.

How much do you know about asbestos?

Asbestos often seems like an antiquated word, something now obsolete, a throwback to the 1960s. You might remember certain products that manufacturers and salesmen promoted as "flame retardant" because they contained asbestos. Once people started learning how dangerous microscopic asbestos fibers can be to human health, the powers that be instituted regulations regarding its use.

For some reason, many pushed asbestos to the back burner; in fact, for a long time, people scarcely mentioned or thought about it. However, spray insulation and other things like floor tiles, cabinetry or, even, automotive parts often still contain asbestos. If you work, live or frequently visit an area that happens to have asbestos in the air, you can contract a serious, often terminal illness. Many Pennsylvania residents who have already received such diagnoses are currently involved in asbestos litigation.

Does Pennsylvania have asbestos exposure regulations?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral but that doesn't mean that it's safe to be around. If it's breathed in, it can damage the lungs and other organs.

Asbestos was a popular building material in the past, but studies have shown that it can cause serious chronic illnesses or death. For that reason, Pennsylvania has important laws to protect workers and the public from exposure.

Worried about a diagnosis? Should you get a second opinion?

There are many reasons you or your loved one might visit a Pennsylvania doctor's office. Such visits may simply be part of your regular health regimen, especially if you're a parent of young children. At other times, an unexpected health concern might prompt your need to schedule an appointment. When seeking medical attention, you have a right to reasonably expect that the doctor in question will be able to assess your situation and properly diagnosis an adverse health condition.

Even if your doctor is having trouble diagnosing a particular condition, he or she should consult a specialist or refer you to another doctor who may be better able to handle the situation. In certain circumstances, you may want to get a second opinion. This is especially true if you have received a diagnosis of terminal illness, such as various cancers or illnesses associated with asbestos injury.

Diagnosing mesothelioma is vital to recovery and treatment

Mesothelioma is not easy to detect, and it can spread throughout the body long before treatment begins. For many, a diagnosis is essentially a death sentence, and they're left only able to use medication or techniques to cope with pain and the dysfunction within their bodies.

In some lucky cases, individuals are able to seek chemotherapy or surgery to remove the cancer. There is no guarantee that it can be cured, but if caught at an early stage, it may be possible to prevent the cancer from spreading. In some cases, it may be removed or the patient goes into remission.

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