While not everyone who is exposed to asbestos gets mesothelioma, asbestos exposure can increase the likelihood of developing a variety of lung diseases. Asbestos has also been linked to a number of health issues, including the rare cancer, mesothelioma. Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral, commonly used in building materials due to heat resistant qualities and the ability to effectively insulate.
Mesothelioma is a rare form of lung cancer, affecting the lining of the lungs. This type of cancer has been linked to asbestos exposure. Sometimes mesothelioma can occur after even a brief incident of asbestos exposure, though frequency, duration, and intensity of the exposure are thought to play a role in the likelihood of a person developing mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma tends to develop over time. The Ochsner Journal has reported cases of mesothelioma that occur up to 40 years after an exposure to asbestos. While over 200,000 people in the United States are living with lung cancer at a given time, only about 3,300 of these cases are mesothelioma, according to the same study.
Asbestos Exposure and Other Risk Factors
Asbestos exposure is the primary risk factor of mesothelioma, according to Mayo Clinic, though other lifestyle factors can contribute to the development of lung cancer and other diseases. Those who smoke, use tobacco products, or are exposed to secondhand smoke, could be more likely to develop mesothelioma after asbestos exposure. Diet, exercise, and genetics can also increase the chances of cancer for those exposed to this potentially harmful substance.
If you work in a field such as construction, janitorial services, automobile manufacturing, or another profession that could have increased your exposure to asbestos, another party could be at fault for your exposure.
Asbestos has been frequently used in many types of building products due to the ability of asbestos to insulate and prevent fires. When the dangers of asbestos began to emerge, many regulations were implemented to minimize potential exposure, but older buildings are still likely to have used materials containing asbestos. While the prevalence of asbestos in building materials is relatively known, the frequency of asbestos in everyday products might come as a surprise. If you were exposed to any of the following products, you could have come in contact with asbestos:
- Various building materials, such as insulation and roofing
- Car clutches and brake pads
- Potting soil
While most people have used these goods, products, and materials and could have therefore been exposed to asbestos, not everyone who is exposed to asbestos gets mesothelioma. If you are exhibiting any symptoms of lung disease, it is very important that you see a medical professional.
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The symptoms of mesothelioma include, but are not limited to:
- Persistent coughing that may worsen over time
- Coughing up blood
- Chest pains
- Loss of appetite or sudden weight loss
- Muscle weakness
- Shortness of breath
- Wheezing, difficulty breathing, and other respiratory ailments
If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the symptoms of mesothelioma, it is important to be assessed by a doctor. Every day is valuable when your health is at risk, so remember to take action in a timely manner. Only a medical professional will be able to accurately assess your condition and help develop a treatment plan.
What to Do If You Were Exposed to Asbestos
If you were exposed to asbestos, it is possible that your exposure could lead to long-term health effects. Not everyone who is exposed to asbestos gets mesothelioma but depending on the frequency and duration of your exposure and other contributing factors, your health could be at risk.
It is important that you seek medical attention so that you can be assessed and continually monitored for a number of diseases that could affect your lungs or other parts of your body. Sometimes asbestos exposure can lead to cancer, including mesothelioma.
If you believe that you were exposed to asbestos due to the negligence of a third party, you could be eligible for financial compensation. While no two cases are exactly alike, people who develop mesothelioma as a result of preventable exposure to asbestos are sometimes eligible for financial compensation. If you would like to learn more about your legal options, a team member at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm is available to discuss your case. Call (800) 794-0444 to learn more about what you can do next.