The mesothelioma diagnosis was not that much of a surprise. You sensed that something was wrong. The cough, fatigue, chest pain and shortness of breath were among the symptoms. Still, the news struck you like a lightning bolt. This fatal form of cancer has you searching for answers.
One question you ask: How did you get this dreadful disease that will likely end my life within two years? The cause is the asbestos fibers you inhaled. And two most likely places where you had exposure to asbestos were either at your workplace or home.
Work, home, secondary exposure
We know that workers in certain types of occupations are more likely to face exposure to asbestos than others. Shipbuilding is one of them. Through the decades, thousands of Washington residents have toiled away in the region’s shipyards, building passenger ships, barges, naval and civilian cargo ships, drilling platforms and submarines.
Construction workers, machine operators, agriculture workers and firefighters also are among the people who have a higher chance of succumbing to mesothelioma due to their regular exposure to asbestos.
Your home also is a likely source of asbestos exposure. Many families remain unaware of the asbestos-containing materials that exist in their homes. For example, asbestos is used in siding, ceilings, floor tiles, drywall as well as insulating pipes.
Finally, another way in which you may have gotten mesothelioma was through secondary exposure to the asbestos fibers. Construction and industrial workers who have regular on-the-job exposure to asbestos may bring home the fibers, attached to their tools, shoes and clothing. Family members who share the home may get exposed to these fibers, which become airborne and collect on curtains, furniture and clothing.
Now, it has come to this: a shortened life, medical treatment, pain and likely hospice care. You got this disease, which, in many cases, was preventable. Employers and building suppliers may not have been forthcoming about the presence of asbestos in the workplace or their products. Now, decades later, you and your family must cope with a mesothelioma diagnosis.