When you went to work in a Pittsburgh factory some 30-40 years ago, you never dreamed you would one day suffer an illness where even the slightest physical exertion would leave you gasping for breath. You likely also never thought that your workplace would be the source of such an illness. Thousands of other blue-collar industry workers in Pennsylvania are facing similar situations.
It’s one thing to trip and fall at work. You might sprain an ankle or even break a wrist, neither of which are pleasant experiences, but they are also not necessarily the fault of your employer. It’s quite another thing, however, to learn that your employers were aware of hazards in your work environment but, instead of fulfilling their obligation to keep their employees as safe as possible, they did not reveal what they knew because they were more concerned with making a profit.
A disease that wreaks havoc on your body
Shortness of breath is a main symptom that typically accompanies mesothelioma, the incurable cancer people exposed to asbestos are at risk to contract. Most times, months or years pass before an asbestos victim realizes he or she is in a compromised state of health. The following list includes other related symptoms:
- In addition to trouble breathing, mesothelioma sufferers often have nagging coughs and chest pain.
- If you suffer night sweats and also have noticed a decrease in your appetite, you may be showing signs of a serious, underlying illness, such as asbestos-related lung disease.
- Other symptoms specifically related to mesothelioma include loss of vocal ability, loss of diaphragm function and weight loss.
Diagnosis is not always immediately apparent because your doctor won’t necessarily see a connection to your current condition and a job you had three decades ago. That’s why it’s so important to inform medical staff of your past history if you believe you had exposure to asbestos in the workplace.
What comes after diagnosis?
There is currently no cure for mesothelioma. Various treatments can help alleviate pain and discomfort, and help improve quality of life. Living with a chronic, incurable disease brings many challenges to daily life. Many Pennsylvania asbestos victims find it helpful to talk to other former factory workers who have had similar experiences.
Such situations are often legally complex due to the amount of time that has usually passed from an initial asbestos exposure to an onset of symptoms. There are legal support networks in place to address any litigation issues that arise.