Exposure to asbestos is linked to numerous deadly diseases, including lung cancer and mesothelioma, which is rare, aggressive, and incurable. While long-term exposure is considered more of a risk than short-term exposure, there is no safe amount of exposure to asbestos. Even exposures that have happened years ago have the potential to result in an asbestos-related disease. Early detection is key, so if you think you have encountered asbestos, it is important to take action immediately.
Understanding common exposure risks can help determine if you were exposed. Many people encounter asbestos in the workplace. Workers in industries such as construction, manufacturing, shipbuilding, oil refining, mining, automotive and aviation, firefighting, the military, and more have historically had to handle asbestos-containing products, and they may still encounter those products today. People who lived with these workers may have been exposed to asbestos dust that those workers brought home with them. Asbestos has a long latency period, meaning that people who were exposed decades ago may still develop disease..
Document Your Exposure
If you know you have a history of asbestos exposure or have been in high-risk situations, talk to your physician right away. Your primary care doctor will make a note in your medical records, which can make it easier to reach a conclusive diagnosis later. It is important to provide as much detail as possible, including what kinds of asbestos products were handled and how long the exposure may have taken place. If there were multiple exposures, tell your physician, as short-term exposures can accumulate and become a serious risk. If you know the type of asbestos you encountered, you should share that as well.
Once the exposure is documented, you can set up regular screenings for signs of the disease. There is no diagnostic test specifically for mesothelioma, but your doctor can perform imaging tests, such as CT scans or chest X-rays, bronchoscopies, or pulmonary function tests to check for any developing tumors. Catching the disease in its early stages can improve life expectancy.
Understanding the early symptoms of mesothelioma can also help facilitate an early diagnosis. Pleural mesothelioma symptoms often include persistent cough, chest pain, difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle weakness, fever, sudden weight loss, or swollen arms or face. Mesothelioma symptoms are similar to other conditions, including pneumonia, lung cancer, and even COVID-19. Knowing your asbestos exposure history can help you and your physician narrow down the diagnosis sooner.
Additionally, having a comprehensive history of asbestos exposure can help mesothelioma patients and their families with a legal claim. If you have received a mesothelioma diagnosis, you should also speak with a lawyer to determine your legal options.
Philadelphia Mesothelioma Attorneys at Shein Law Can Advocate on Your Behalf When Exposed to Asbestos
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer, or another asbestos-related disease, talk with one of our Philadelphia mesothelioma attorneys at Shein Law. With offices in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we help mesothelioma patients and their families throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Call 877-743-4652 or contact us online to discuss your asbestos case.