Common Questions About Asbestos
Asbestos is a word we hear thrown around a lot and most people know that it is dangerous and that exposure to it can cause health problems. However, beyond that most do not know much at all about this dangerous material compound. That is why we wanted to answer some of the most common questions people ask us about asbestos:
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a term given to identify a group of naturally occurring minerals that are comprised of long, thin fibers. These minerals are very heat resistant and thus were commonly used in man-made insulators, and they are also highly fire-resistant, so they were used in many applications as heat retardation and insulation in industrial and even residential applications for many years.
What is mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a very rare and specific form of cancer that attacks the mesothelium, a tissue that lines the organs of the body. There are several common types that can be caused by asbestos exposure- pleural, which affects the lungs; peritoneal, which affects the abdomen; and pericardial, which affects the heart. As many as 75 percent of all mesothelioma cases are pleural types.
Is mesothelioma different than lung cancer?
Yes, the two diseases are different. Cancer of the lung occurs when a tumor grows in the tissue or into the cavity of the lungs themselves. Mesothelioma pleural occurs when the cancer is found only in the tissue lining of the lungs. Though the lungs are both affected they are two separate diseases- only asbestos exposure is know to cause mesothelioma.
What if I am a smoker?
While smoking increases your chances of developing lung cancer and other respiratory problems, smoking tobacco products cannot cause mesothelioma on its own. The only known cause of mesothelioma is asbestos exposure. However, when your lungs are weakened by smoking and if you already have COPD or other lung disorders you may be more susceptible to asbestos particles.
How does asbestos cause mesothelioma?
Asbestos fibers can easily become imbedded in the lining of the lungs due to their shape and size. This irritates the lining and when the tissue is damaged badly enough, mesothelioma develops. Once asbestos fibers lodge themselves in the lungs, they are there for the rest of the person’s life and as they accumulate with repeated exposure they cause the disease to develop.
Can exposure to asbestos cause other health problems?
Yes, asbestos exposure can cause a range of other health problems other than mesothelioma. It can also cause lung cancer, asbestosis, and other respiratory conditions. It can also make existing health concerns, especially those related to the lungs or the blood, more severe. More research is being done to better understand how asbestos affects healthy and unhealthy bodies.
What are the signs and symptoms of mesothelioma?
Many people who suffer from mesothelioma have difficulty detecting the disease because it often resembles symptoms of less serious illnesses early on. Symptoms can include shortness of breath, fatigue, coughing, weight loss, fluid in the chest, chest pain, or difficulty swallowing. In most cases the disease has been slowly growing for 20-50 years before a diagnosis is officially given.
How could I have been exposed to asbestos?
The most common way that people suffer asbestos exposure is through their jobs. Some professions put workers in direct contact with asbestos materials and thus long-term exposure results in the development of mesothelioma. However, secondary exposure can also happen when family members are exposed to asbestos brought home on the clothes of family members.
How Do I Get Help?
If you or a loved one has been affected by asbestos, you do not have to fight alone or suffer in silence. We are here to put our years of real world case experience to work so contact us today and let our team of experienced experts go to work for you on your case and fight for your rights! Call us today to get started and to get the help you deserve!