Your grandfather has spent the last 30 years working in the shipping industry repairing ships. He loves his job as a way to a make good living and he is able to support his family well enough. Lately however in the last month or so, he has noticed that he is more tired than normal. He also has a cough that he has had for a while and he often complains of chest pain. He met with his doctor and discussed his symptoms and his medical history. After numerous tests and a biopsy it was found that he had mesothelioma, a deadly cancer most likely caused by his many years of working around and breathing in asbestos at the shipyard.
Asbestos is a set of natural minerals that resist heat and corrosion. They were popular and widely used in the construction industry until the 1980’s. One of the reasons that asbestos was so popular to use is for its sound absorption ability. Many materials were made with asbestos such as floor tiles, brakes and insulation for pipes just to name a few. There are a number of jobs where a worker could have been exposed to asbestos such as the construction and automotive industry. Ship builders could also have been exposed to asbestos. The United States stopped making asbestos in 1978, although the remaining stock was allowed to be used.
Today, asbestos is recognized as dangerous and is regulated by OSHA and the Environment Protection Agency. Asbestos is so dangerous because by breathing in the fibers (unseen to the human eye) cells are damaged and scar tissue can build up on the lung which can then result in disability and death. There are diseases that asbestos can cause like mesothelioma which is a rare, fatal cancer. It’s often detected and diagnosed too late and as a result of this mesothelioma life expectancy is incredibly low.
If there is a history of you or a loved one working around asbestos such as a shipyard or in the manufacturing or construction industry, do not wait for any symptoms to appear. As with other cancers, the prognosis for mesothelioma depends on how soon it was found. The bad part is that most of the time if an individual is diagnosed with mesothelioma it is diagnosed years and years after the initial exposure to asbestos.
There are factors involved as to what kinds of mesothelioma treatments should be considered for recovery. The size and state of the tumor, whether it can be surgically removed, the type of cancer cells involved as well as the age and general health condition of the patient can all affect the recovery of the patient. Be proactive about your health. Find the right doctor who can conduct regular exams and screenings to monitor any type of development which could have been caused by asbestos. Regular screenings such as chest x-rays and conducting a Bronchoscopy, which is using a scope to view inside the lungs, can help to monitor any type of abnormal developments which could have been caused by inhaling asbestos.
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