Mesothelioma is a potentially fatal cancer that you can develop after getting exposed to asbestos. It starts on the thin membranes around your internal organs, most commonly on the lungs and abdominal area. If it reaches other organs, it can be too advanced to treat successfully.
How early you can detect mesothelioma often depends on how soon you start having symptoms. Mesothelioma has a lengthy latency period, or the time between getting exposed to the cause and when the complications start showing. In many mesothelioma cases, patients only notice the side effects around two to four decades later. For a few, however, symptoms might crop up after about ten years. During the latency period, the asbestos fibers in your body stick to your tissue linings. They can cause enough inflammation to mutate your genes, which can then make your cells cancerous.
A problem with detecting mesothelioma based on side effects alone is that it will have already progressed to an advanced stage before signs of the disease become apparent. Another issue you might face is mistaking the symptoms with that of other illnesses. For instance, some common signs of pleural mesothelioma, which affects lung linings, are chest pains, shortness of breath, coughs, and unexplained weight loss, according to Mayo Clinic. These conditions are similar to bronchitis or pneumonia.
Your best odds of spotting mesothelioma without relying on symptoms is to get screened annually. It is crucial to do so if you reside near or work in industries that put you at more risk from asbestos exposure, such as construction or manufacturing. Having loved ones who have these jobs can also endanger you since they could inadvertently bring asbestos fibers home as it can be on clothes and other belongings.
What Early Detection of Mesothelioma Means
Many mesothelioma patients do not survive one year after their first symptoms develop. However, if detected while it is at an earlier stage, doctors can treat the disease before it spreads to the rest of your body. Cancer specialists first determine how advanced your mesothelioma is. They can then prescribe the appropriate treatments to fight your cancer aggressively. While it does not ensure that you will survive, a swift response to your diagnosis can help you live longer and hopefully make your mesothelioma go into remission. Early detection will also save you and your loved ones from more emotional distress and medical expenses.
Living a healthier lifestyle can also help boost your survival rate. For instance, you can stop smoking tobacco, which contains carcinogens linked to lung cancer and can worsen your mesothelioma symptoms. A nutritious diet provides your body with the nourishment it needs. At the same time, regular exercise promotes your overall physical and mental well-being, which can help improve your mindset as you face your cancer.
How Mesothelioma Is Diagnosed
While checking your symptoms, your physician will also ask you about your medical history, your lifestyle, and any probable risk factors such as your line of work, which could expose you to asbestos. This will help them ascertain if your condition is most likely mesothelioma.
If their examination does point to cancer, you will have to undergo more tests to confirm it. Some of these include imaging tests such as x-rays, CT, and MRI scans. They will help check for any unusual growths in your body.
If you are interested, you can also participate in clinical trials that test new methods for diagnosing and treating mesothelioma.
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The Possibility of Getting Test Expenses Covered
Insurance plans do not always cover all of your medical expenses. You can check with your health insurance company first if the policy covers examinations and check-up costs. There are also public services such as Medicaid and Medicare, which provide coverage plans that include tests and doctor’s appointments.
If your mesothelioma was the result of asbestos exposure at work or improper handling or disposal, you could also sue the party at fault. For example, an employer that does not provide workers with protective gear is liable for any diseases caused by exposure. Winning the claim allows you to get compensated for the damages brought by their negligence, which, of course, includes medical costs.
We Provide Legal Assistance
How early you can detect and treat mesothelioma comes down to how you respond after discovering your symptoms and if you regularly have check-ups. Act quickly, and you will more likely survive longer and even have the opportunity to file a lawsuit to get compensated.
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm is always here to help if you ever need guidance and court representation. For a free case review, call the team at (800) 307-3113.