Asbestos exposure ups the risk of mesothelioma

If you work or have worked in a North Carolina shipyard, old school building, factory, or the construction or auto mechanics industry, you may at some point have been exposed to asbestos. While exposures are not limited to these types of workplaces alone, they do, in fact, pose some of the greatest risk.

Asbestos was once a key part of many products sold and used in the United States, primarily because it is heat resistant, strong and versatile. However, in time, it became known how dangerous asbestos exposure can be. In fact, there are several terminal illnesses, including mesothelioma, that are closely linked to asbestos.

What exactly is asbestos?

Asbestos is a group of natural fibers that are microscopic. This fibrous material is often found in insulation, popcorn ceilings, cabinetry and other items. If left undisturbed, the risk of exposure is minimal. However, when material containing asbestos is agitated, the fibers are released into the atmosphere and can then be inhaled or ingested without a person knowing.

There are six types of asbestos; however, Chrysotile asbestos is what is most commonly found in building materials used throughout the United States.

What is mesothelioma?

If you have been exposed to asbestos, you might not even know you are sick until a decade or longer. One of the illnesses you can contract by inhaling or ingesting Chrysotile fibers is mesothelioma. This is an aggressive form of cancer, which often affects the lungs, although it can occur in other parts of the body as well.

Symptoms that suggest you might have mesothelioma

If you were to develop any of the symptoms on the following list and there is a possibility that you were exposed to asbestos, it may be a sign that you have contracted mesothelioma or some other asbestos-related illness:

  • Increased white blood cell count
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Coughing up blood
  • Terrible night sweats
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Chest or abdominal pain
  • Lingering cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Anemia
  • Trouble sleeping

It is imperative to let your doctor know if you believe you were exposed to asbestos, so that he or she will know what tests to run to rule out or to diagnose mesothelioma.

Getting the care and treatment you need

It is understandable that you might feel shocked and dismayed to learn that you have developed mesothelioma, likely due to asbestos exposure. Working closely with a North Carolina medical team, you would hopefully be able to devise a thorough treatment plan. While there’s no cure for this type of cancer, treatment is palliative, meaning that it is intended to help alleviate pain and maintain an adequate quality of life for as long as possible.

In addition to a medical team, friends, loved ones, counselors and, perhaps, faith ministers, can build a strong support network to provide for your needs. Many mesothelioma patients also seek support from legal advocates, especially if their illness was contracted in the workplace.