There are many different kinds of cancer. Lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer, and hundreds of thousands of Americans receive this devastating diagnosis each year. It’s a sobering statistic.
However, despite lung cancer being the most common of cancers, mesothelioma is another form of lung cancer that is causing concern amongst blue-collar workers and their families. The truth about mesothelioma cancer is, that it’s usually caused by exposure to certain chemicals, namely asbestos. Want to know what type of asbestos causes mesothelioma? Click the link for more information.
Mesothelioma isn’t often seen as curable cancer, however, thanks to medicinal advances and cancer research more patients than ever before are benefitting from progressive treatments and having their life expectancy increased.
Here we’ll explore what you need to know about mesothelioma cancer.
What is mesothelioma?
As mentioned above, this kind of cancer is caused by exposure to asbestos, usually in a working environment. It’s often the lungs that are primarily affected although it can affect other organs as it begins to spread. Asbestos fibres find their way into the respiratory system, where they cannot escape, and their toxicity begins to cause irreparable damage. Most victims of exposure don’t realise they’ve developed this kind of issue until much further down the line.
Who is most at risk?
Asbestos is an insulating material and is fire retardant. So, you’ll find it in a wide range of places. From floor and ceiling tiles to insulation products, pipe lagging and even adhesives. Unfortunately, this means that people who work in the construction industry, in shipyards, mining and chemical handling are probably more at risk. Firefighters and even factory workers can also find themselves exposed to asbestos when working with machinery or entering dangerous buildings where asbestos has been disturbed.
What are the symptoms?
Much like lung and other cancers, the symptoms develop over time. With victims of mesothelioma not necessarily experiencing symptoms until decades after their initial exposure. The following are the most common symptoms seen in patients:
- Chest pain: Fluid and tumours can cause high amounts of pressure in the lungs. As the fluid and tumours press against the organs, it causes chest and abdominal pain.
- Shortness of breath: Again, pressure in the chest means that patients are often short of breath and find it difficult to breathe.
- Fatigue: A lack of oxygen means you’re more likely to suffer from fatigue and low energy.
- Unexplained weight loss: Like many symptoms of cancer, unexplained weight loss is a large red flag. This often occurs as the energy usually absorbed by the body is hijacked by the cancerous cells and used to fuel tumours and cancer growth.
- A persistent cough: We cough as a means to clear our airways and lungs. You may find yourself persistent coughing as your cancer develops.
If you or your loved one is concerned about mesothelioma or exposure to asbestos (even years ago) you should speak with your doctor as soon as possible. If you’re looking at diagnosis, reach out to a personal injury lawyer to discuss your potential case.