Health problems that involve the lungs are often very serious. People can have decreased lung capacity and find it difficult to breathe. They may need to use portable oxygen machines and often have chest pain. An illness of this type can significantly upset a person’s life and health. This is why it can be so detrimental to have lung illnesses diagnosed as soon as possible when treatment can be more effective.
Unfortunately, when the lungs have been damaged by asbestos, it can take decades for doctors to be able to detect it. Once a person starts experiencing symptoms, it can be crucial to get to the doctor right away so that he or she can run tests to identify asbestos-related illnesses. As this article on cancer.gov notes, doctors have various ways to detect lung abnormalities.
The three tests that are commonly used include:
- X-rays: This test is the most common used by doctors. X-rays can reveal signs of lung disease, but they cannot identify asbestos-specific damage.
- CT scans: For more details than an X-ray can provide, doctors usually order a computed tomography, which is also called a CT scan. These scans involve taking several pictures of the inside of a person’s body from different angles. These scans can give doctors a much better idea of what kind of damage or abnormalities are present.
- Biopsy: This is the most reliable way that doctors can assess the damage to a person’s lungs and make a determination about whether asbestos is in a person’s lungs. Biopsies allow doctors to remove a piece of tissue from the area or organ in question and then see if asbestos is detected in that sample.
Many people who have been exposed to asbestos will have to go through at least one of these tests to determine if the exposure has lead to damage or abnormalities.
These tests can be uncomfortable, scary and stressful for any person in this situation, but it can be essential for people to not put them off. They should be conducted sooner, rather than later, so that any problems are identified quickly and treatment can begin.
Once the medical care and treatment is underway, patients and their families can then explore their options for seeking compensation for their illness.