Asbestos is defined as a naturally existing or occurring “fibrous silicate mineral.” Over the course of an extended period of time, asbestos was used in building materials in Pennsylvania and across the United States. Ultimately, workers and others exposed to asbestos were determined to be at a higher risk of contracting cancer. Although asbestos is no longer used, the continued presence in older buildings keeps the material a real concern. Luckily, there is a reliable process in place to test for asbestos-related cancer.
Medical professionals regard a lung biopsy as the most reliable method of detecting asbestos-related lung cancer. Indeed, a lung biopsy is able to detect the presence of microscopic asbestos fibers in a person’s lung tissue in advance of the development of cancer-related to this substance.
Another method of detecting the presence of asbestos in the lungs is what is known as a bronchoscopy. This procedure is less invasive than a biopsy. Through a bronchoscopy, asbestos fibers are flushed from the lungs and identified.
Chest x-ray and lung function tests
Chest x-rays and lung function tests cannot specifically determine the presence of asbestos in an individual’s lungs. However, these tests are capable of detecting the early stages of lung disease.
Other tests to detect possible asbestos-related cancer include an examination of an individual’s urine, mucus, or feces. These tests can detect the presence of asbestos. However, this trio of tests is not considered as reliable as some of the other examinations.
An individual with concerns about exposure to asbestos should consult with a physician. As is the case with many diseases, early intervention in a case of asbestos-related lung cancer can enhance the prospects of a more favorable outcome for a patient.