Watching for Symptoms of Mesothelioma

by admin on March 25, 2009

Mesothelioma is a serious disease, and 99% of all cases are attributable to exposure to asbestos. It’s a disease that can remain dormant for as long as 20 to 50 years before it starts taking its devastating toll on a person’s health and life. Although the cancer may show up in less than 20 years in some cases, most people don’t develop any symptoms until somewhere around 35 years after exposure. Early symptoms may not ring any bells, either, because they may be as basic as general pain in the chest or back. Therefore, anyone who ever worked in an environment where there were asbestos fibers needs to be on guard for the rest of their lives.

Mesothelioma patients have been diagnosed as having cancer cells surrounding their lungs or abdominal organs or inside their ribcages. While even a little exposure to asbestos could cause the disease, it’s far more likely to occur in people who were exposed over longer periods of time. It’s real possible that you aren’t even aware that you were ever working around asbestos, because it was common for employers back then to withhold from their employees the information that was coming out regarding asbestos exposure. Some examples of people who may have been innocently exposed prior to the 1970s include construction workers or those who were in the Navy.

There are a number of materials you could have been exposed to that contained asbestos, because asbestos was widely-used prior to the middle of the 1970s when the first reports of the damages it could cause were released. Before that time almost every kind of insulation contained asbestos, including insulation used in homes, around pipes, for fire-proofing, and in boilers. Powdered forms of plaster, cement, and joint compounds that were used to insulate contained asbestos, too, and since using them caused employees to breathe in a lot of their dust, they have proved to be a major source of asbestos exposure.

People who worked in the following occupations prior to the mid 1970s need to be alert for the symptoms of Mesothelioma: * Paper mills * Brake and clutch shoe manufacture * Boilermakers * Electrical and carpentry workers or bricklayers * Insulation – manufacture or installation * Steel refineries and other steel industries * Shipyard workers * Maintenance workers

Even if you did work in any of these occupations, that’s not a sure sign you’re going to come down with Mesothelioma. However, it does put you at a higher risk, and you should let your physician know that you were exposed. He may recommend that you take some tests in order to determine if the asbestos is having any effect on you. He may want to do a complete physical, have x-rays taken of your chest and abdomen, and ask you to take pulmonary function tests. In some cases CT scans or MRIs are advisable. All of this testing may well find no evidence of Mesothelioma, but at least you’ll know for sure which can be a relief.

If you should happen to be diagnosed with Mesothelioma sometime in the future, you’ll want to hire a lawyer who specializes in this type of litigation to file a claim against your employer. You may be eligible for restitution if it can be proven that your employer was in any way negligent in providing you with information or safety equipment that could have prevented your illness.