While it is widely known that exposure to asbestos can cause devastating and ultimately fatal illnesses, not every person who is exposed develops diseases like mesothelioma. In fact, mesothelioma is considered relatively rare.
But asbestos-related illnesses, while rare, are still catastrophic. The most troubling characteristics of these illnesses are that they are often fatal and they can take decades to develop. Because diagnoses can be so delayed, people who have been exposed to asbestos are often very worried about whether their health was jeopardized as a result of that exposure. However, people can get a better understanding of their risk factors even before symptoms start to show up.
There are certain elements and circumstances that can increase a person’s risk of developing illnesses like mesothelioma. According to the National Cancer Institute, the factors that can affect a person’s risk of getting sick include:
- Concentration of exposure
- Length of time exposed
- Where the asbestos was located
- Pre-existing diseases that affect lung function
- Type of the asbestos ingested
This information suggests that a person who was only intermittently exposed to small amounts of asbestos could have a smaller risk of getting sick than someone who was exposed to high concentrations of asbestos for several years. Similarly, a person who smokes and was exposed to asbestos may be more likely to develop an asbestos-related disease than someone exposed to the same asbestos but never smoked.
It is crucial to note that there are no guarantees when it comes to asbestos. People can still get sick when their exposure was minimal, and not every person who had close and frequent contact with the toxic material will develop an illness.
While there may not be any hard and fast answers about how asbestos may have affected someone until and unless they are diagnosed, there are legal answers and resolutions available to people who have been injured as a result of asbestos exposure. In order to learn what these options and solutions may be, it can be wise for victims and their families to speak with an attorney familiar with filing asbestos claims.