Lung Cancer From Asbestos: Important Facts to Know and How to Cope With the Problem

What are asbestos? Asbestos are mineral fibers that can be separated into thin, durable threads. These fibers are resistant to heat, fire, and chemicals and do not conduct electricity. These minerals have been used widely in many industries. Chemically, asbestos are silicate compound of silicon and oxygen atoms in their molecular structure. The building and construction industries use asbestos for strengthening cement and plastics as well as for insulation, roofing, fireproofing, and sound absorption. The shipbuilding industries insulate boilers, steam pipes, and hot water pipes with these minerals. For their vehicle brake shoes and clutch pads, the automotive industry makes use of these fibers. Asbestos materials are also used in ceiling and floor tiles paints, coatings, adhesives, plastics and many others.

In recent years, due to widespread public concern about the health hazards of asbestos, domestic consumption had significantly dropped. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, the EPA and the International Agency for Research on Cancer, studies show that constant exposure to asbestos caused an increase in asbestosis syndrome, mesothelioma, gastrointestinal, colorectal cancers and other diseases. Early stage asbestos lung cancer is hard to detect because of lack of apparent symptoms. It usually begins in the bronchial lining or the bronchioles, lung air sacs and trachea. The cancer develops slowly but can spread and invade other parts of the body.

Like any other type of lung cancer, the diagnostic tests include physical exams, x-rays, ct scans, imaging tests, PET scan and biopsies. During the diagnostic procedures, you should provide the medical team with vital and relevant information on the extent of asbestos exposure. Factors such as how long has been the exposure, estimated volume of exposure, source, size, shape and chemical make- up of asbestos fibers, whether you are a smoker or non-smoker and current lung problem are important things your doctors should be aware of. With regards its chemical make-up, studies have suggested that if the exposure is with the amphibole asbestos rather than the chrysotile, the risk of developing malignant mesothelioma lung cancer is greater because of the tendency of the amphibole fibers to lodge in the lungs for a long time.

Asbestosis is a disease in which asbestos fibers can cause scarring, inflammation of tissues and growth of non-malignant tumors in the lungs. They are benign and do not spread to the other organs. On the other hand, with mesothelioma, the growth of tumors that occurs in the serious thin membrane linings are malignant and they grow fast and spread to the other organs. When it occurs in the lungs, it is called pleural mesothelioma. It is a rare type of lung cancer. You can detect it by x-rays and confirm by biopsy test. Traditional treatments recommended by a medical team depending on individual evaluation include radiation therapy, surgery and chemotherapy.

Prognosticating mesothelioma reveal serious mortality rates. Factors which affect prognosis are area of cancer, stage, histology, patient's general health, age and response to treatment. Survival rate for patients with high level of white cell counts, presence of SV40 virus and certain biochemical markers from date of diagnosis is only a few months. The median life expectancy rate is about a year.

There are still many work environments and trades in which people are constantly exposed to asbestos. You may belong to any of these groups. Some of them are operational engineers, steamfitters, sheet metal workers, pipe fitters, plumbers, metal lathers, merchant marine, firefighters, shipyard workers, industrial plant workers, plumbers, construction workers, asbestos plant workers, boilers, longshoremen, railroad workers, industrial painters, workers in glass factory, schools, power plants, cement plants, military, hotels, telephone companies, oil refinery, loading docks, hospitals, chemical plants, heating and air-conditioning, boiler or engine rooms, etc.

If you happen to believe having a prolonged exposure to asbestos and are experiencing abnormalities, it is to your best interest to undergo a comprehensive physical exam. You should have a complete x-ray of the front, back, side, and oblique views. Other tests are pulmonary function test, blood work, a CT scan, etc. Request your doctors to explain to you what the tests reveal. It you are diagnosed with a lung cancer from asbestos, have the courage to face it frontally and disclose your condition to your loved ones. Ask for their support and prayers. Seek a second opinion. Lastly, pray for supernatural healing!

What Are the Symptoms of Asbestos Exposure?

Unfortunately, there are no immediately apparent symptoms of asbestos exposure. Long term inhalation of asbestos fibers has been connected with three serious diseases, Lung Cancer, Asbestosis, and Mesothelioma. These diseases do have identifiable symptoms, but after a very long incubation period, as many as thirty years.

Asbestosis Symptoms

Lung Cancer Symptoms

Mesothelioma Symptoms can be characterized by fluid build up in the lungs or in the abdomen and each may have different symptoms.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a term used to refer to any of the six different naturally occurring fibrous minerals used in commercial products. Asbestos has been mined and used for thousands of years. It was mined commercially in the United States from the 1800's until 1993. A common misconception is that asbestos use is now banned in the United States. The fact is, asbestos has been used in commercial products in the US since the 1800's and currently is still being used in some products. Use of asbestos dramatically increased during World War II, due its excellent insulation and fireproofing properties.

Who is at Risk?

Workers and family members living with them while employed in the following trades are at the highest risks associated with exposure to asbestos.

If you experience any of these symptoms and you were exposed to asbestos you should see a doctor for proper diagnosis and care as these symptoms may be associated with other less serious conditions.

What Are Asbestos Settlements?

Since bringing to the fore of the health hazard constituted by asbestos beginning in the late 1960's, there had been so many cases of asbestos settlements in the United States and in fact in the whole of the western world. Some cases has led to victims been compensated while in some cases the verdict was against the victims. And still in some case the verdicts had been challenged and later overturned.

Exposure to asbestos has been proved to be the primary cause of a vast number of deadly diseases and these include cancer. The material had been used frequently in building because of its thermal and insulation properties but has also be scientifically proven carcinogenic in nature which means long time exposure to it results in dire consequences for the victims.

Helping the victim of exposure related with money to cover medical expenses was the sole purpose of asbestos settlements. It is also meant to cater for incapacity benefit, that is, compensation for the loss of income over the years. However, over the years, there has been numerous allegations of it been turned into a full-fledged enterprise where the attorneys are the big winners since they get a part of the settlement fees as reward for fighting the different cases.

There is no specific formula for estimating the valuation of a settlement as there are a lot of factors to consider carefully before the final verdict and these could be very difficult since some of the factors are subjective rather than quantifiable. Questions like age when exposed? How long the exposure was for? What is the victim's potential earning capacity? Settlements worth billions have been given in asbestos lawsuits; settlements worth billions more are pending in various courts worldwide.

It is therefore, imperative to acquire the services of an experience team of attorneys who can perform the investigative stage perfectly and compile evidences in a compelling manner so as to help the court reach a verdict as quickly as possible. Without this aspect done correctly, you've got a no-case. So try to choose wisely and you and your family will smile in the end.

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