Over the years one of the highest risks of exposure to hazardous chemicals has been in the work environment. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has developed a list of the top priority substances to be aware of. This priority list is not a list of “most toxic” substances, but rather a prioritization of substances based on a combination of their frequency, toxicity, and potential for human exposure. The complete CDC list contains 275 substances including Arsenic, Lead, Mercury, Benzene, Cyanide and Asbestos.
The difference between most of these chemicals and asbestos is the way it affects your body. Most chemicals are absorbed and then cause problems as they travel through your bloodstream. The problem with asbestos on the other hand is that the little fibers get inhaled and stuck in your lungs and eventually they can cause a problem called Mesothelioma.
Warning Signs of Mesothelioma Cancer
Dealing with the aftermath of exposure to asbestos can be devastating for many people. While modern building standards are limiting asbestos exposure for today’s workers, there is still a risk of being exposed. Symptoms of asbestos exposure leading to mesothelioma, a form of cancer, usually appear 15 to 50 years after exposure. Common early warning signs of mesothelioma include shortness of breath, fatigue, coughing, and problems with respiratory functioning. Seeking medical attention is important if you are concerned that you have been exposed and may be showing signs of mesothelioma cancer.
While the above warning signs are common, patients often see an increase of other issues like chest pain. If you breathe in and find that the pain gets worse, seek out medical attention. This often means you have pleura problems, which are a part of mesothelioma. A chest x-ray will help a doctor determine the severity of your condition. The longer the disease has to take hold of your body, the more symptoms you will notice start to arise. Weight loss, night sweats, decreased appetite, and shortness of breath will all occur. Based on the location of the tumor, a patient can experience changes in their voice and loss of proper functioning of the diaphragm. The sooner you schedule a visit with your doctor, the easier it will be to make a proper diagnosis and start treatment that can prolong your life.
If you are experiencing any of these warning signs, speak to your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will do a physical examination and will follow up with some tests to find out if you do have cancer. Mesothelioma will be officially diagnosed through a biopsy and a report from a pathologist. The doctor may also have you come in for a CT scan and x-rays on the lungs. The doctor will look inside your chest cavity using a thoracoscope. This allows the doctor to see between the ribs and find out if there is fluid in the chest cavity. The doctor may also perform a test called a peritoneoscopy. This will allow the doctor to find out if fluid is collecting in the abdomen. The doctor will drain the fluid from the abdomen to reduce pain and breathing issues. If the doctor locates tissues that are considered abnormal, they will cut out a small section and send it in for a biopsy for an official diagnosis. Radiation treatment can help to reduce the tumor cells that are detected in the area.
Once a diagnosis is made, the doctor will discuss your treatment options. The prognosis for mesothelioma cancer will vary based on how early your cancer is diagnosed and how aggressive your cancer is. Acting upon the diagnosis with the right treatment plan is the most important thing you can do to prolong your life. Since there is no cure for mesothelioma, the best option is to consider surgery and chemotherapy to hope the cancer goes into remission and doesn’t spread to other organs. Doctors will normally prescribe painkillers to assist with the pain you may feel as you undergo the various treatments for mesothelioma cancer.
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About the Author:
Byron Henderson writes on a variety of topics including health, law, medical research, science and other subjects as well. Those interested in pursuing a mesothelioma claim will find more information on the Shrader Law, a trusted law firm website.
Image courtesy of Image courtesy of Kromkrathog / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
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