Asbestos, a fibrous material, commonly causes cancer of the lungs known as mesothelioma. Asbestos has been used in various industries due to its heat-resistant properties. Workers in Pennsylvania can undergo several tests to determine if they have been exposed to asbestos.
Medical research began to connect asbestos to mesothelioma in the 1960s. Mesothelioma affects the mesothelium, which is the lining of the lung, heart and abdomen. Mesothelioma of the lungs is commonly referred to as pleural mesothelioma. While breathing any kind of particles can be bad, asbestos especially punctures the lungs.
The challenge comes in identifying symptoms and detecting the cancer since it may take 20 to 30 years for signs to show. Some common symptoms of asbestos exposure include wheezing, coughing, weight loss, reduced appetite, hernias, shortness of breath and difficulty swallowing.
Getting tested and treated
New technology has made it easier to detect cancers early, which increases survival rates. The first treatment step commonly involves getting a chest X-ray to identify abnormalities in the lungs. The X-ray cannot detect the small asbestos fibers, but it can detect tumors.
The doctor may order a blood test designed specifically for pleural mesothelioma. They could also order a CT scan to get a more in-depth look. Biopsies are the most accurate way to detect the cancer, but it is invasive since the process requires surgery or using a long needle.
The survival rate of mesothelioma can be increased by various treatments. The top treatments for mesothelioma are chemotherapy and radiation, and surgery may be an option if the cancer has advanced to the last stages.
Asbestos-related disease like mesothelioma has an impact on the quality of life for the patient. If a person thinks that they got exposed on the job, they may be able to seek compensation from their employer.