Are you experiencing asbestos exposure symptoms?
Asbestos exposure can lead to an array of serious health problems including mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer, among others. What’s troubling is that asbestos exposure symptoms can take decades to appear so you may not know you’ve been exposed until it’s too late.
In most cases, it takes at least 20 to 30 years before symptoms are noticeable. Most asbestos illnesses are due to heavy and prolonged exposure to asbestos, but even limited exposure can cause illness in some victims.
How asbestos exposure harms you
Asbestos is a known human carcinogen – meaning it has been scientifically proven to cause cancer. It has been linked to mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other forms of the disease. Mesothelioma is the most common type of cancer associated with asbestos exposure. Some studies have linked asbestos to colorectal, throat, esophagus, gastrointestinal, kidneys and gallbladder cancer. Not every case of asbestos exposure will result in cancer, but most every mesothelioma case is associated with asbestos.
Asbestosis has the shortest gestation of asbestos-related illnesses
While cancers associated with asbestos usually take longer to develop, symptoms of asbestos exposure indicating asbestosis can crop up much faster. In as little as 15-20 years, some asbestos victims will develop asbestosis symptoms which can include:
- Shortness of breath
- Mucus-producing cough
- Chest pain or tightness
- Cracking sound when inhaling
- Loss of appetite or weight
Other non-cancerous asbestos exposure symptoms that affect the lungs include pleural plaques, pleural thickening, and pleural effusions. Although these are not fatal, some studies have linked pleural disorders to an increased incidence of lung cancer.
Asbestos lung cancer symptoms are slow to show
Asbestos lung cancer is a rare type of lung cancer. For more than 80 years, researchers have known that asbestos exposure symptoms could be tied to lung cancer. Those that smoke and are also victims of asbestos exposure have an increased likelihood of developing the disease. Lung cancer from asbestos can take 15-35 years to develop and symptoms include:
- Persistent cough
- Worsening cough
- Breathing problems
- Persistent chest pain
- Coughing up blood
- Frequent lung infections
- Fatigue and weakness
- Unexplained weight loss
There are two major categories of asbestos lung cancer – small cell and non-small cell. Small cell lung cancer is rarer than non-small cell but small cell causes larger tumors and spreads more rapidly. Non-small cell makes up 80% of lung cancers, is less aggressive, and more likely to be treatable.
Mesothelioma symptoms can take decades
Mesothelioma is relatively rare but close to 3,000 cases are diagnosed each year in the US. Most can be traced directly back to asbestos exposure on the job. The most common type of mesothelioma is pleural which develops in the lining of the lungs. Mesothelioma is the slowest of the asbestos cancers to develop and can take up to 50 years for symptoms to appear. Some symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Pain in the chest, ribs or abdomen
- Loss of appetite
- Night sweats
- Unexplained weight loss
Early stage mesothelioma usually has few, if any, observable symptoms so it is typically not diagnosed until late stages when it is more difficult to treat. Symptoms of asbestos associated with mesothelioma may be confused with those of other less-serious illnesses which can prolong time to diagnosis and treatment, making outcomes worse.
Asbestos exposure symptoms in children
As many public schools were constructed prior to the 1980s, there may be a risk of asbestos exposure for your child at school, particularly if the school is in poor repair or is undergoing renovations. School systems are usually careful to protect students when working in older structures to ensure that asbestos removal is done safely.
Children may also be exposed by parents that work with asbestos. If you believe your child has asbestos exposure symptoms, you are likely misreading the signs because asbestos-related illnesses take so long to develop. When children are exposed to asbestos, the symptoms of the disease and the diseases themselves will typically not appear until the child is an adult.
Help for mesothelioma victims
If your asbestos exposure symptoms turn out to be mesothelioma, you should know there are resources to help you and your loved ones. Bergman Draper Oslund is devoted to fighting for the rights of mesothelioma victims. Our practice is solely devoted to asbestos victims and we’ve won more than $700 million for our clients.
Call (888) 647-6007 for a free case evaluation. The Bergman Draper Oslund team helps mesothelioma victims all across the US and handles more mesothelioma cases than any other firm in the Pacific Northwest. Call us now and get the help you need and the answers you deserve.