5 Signs You Might Have Mesothelioma Cancer
Everyone knows that asbestos is a serious problem, but many don’t know exactly what to look for. Mesothelioma cancer, a type of cancer caused by asbestos exposure, can manifest in different ways. While it can affect people of any age, people who work with asbestos may be more susceptible to developing the disease. If you or someone you know has been exposed to asbestos, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Symptoms vary from person to person, but they are almost always severe and include: Shortness of breath or trouble breathing Pneumonia Vomiting Swelling in the eyes or face Fatigue Sore throat Sinus pain Diarrhea Nausea Pale skin Joint pain Burning or stinging eyes Any rash Chest pain or discomfort Fever Muscle weakness Severe respiratory problems (cough).
Dizziness Difficulties seeing Eye pain vision changes Unusual bleeding in the body Facial hair loss Fingernails and toenails going white Fly-away hair Locks of hair Loss of appetite Changes in sex drive Sleep loss Confusion Memory problems Long-term effects on the body Unfortunately, there is no way to know beforehand whether you will develop mesothelioma in the future. It’s also not clear how long one must be exposed to a substance like asbestos before they are at risk. This is why talking with your doctor about your exposure – and how much is safe – is so important. If you suspect that
You worked with asbestos for a prolonged period of time.
Asbestos was widely used in construction, mining, and many other industries. When these industries switched to using other materials, workers who had worked with the old materials became unemployed and exposed to cancer. Asbestos was found in many different forms, including filters, transformers, brake linings, and many other products. Workers who had been working with asbestos for a long time, even in relatively low doses, could be at risk of developing mesothelioma. However, rates of mesothelioma are higher among people who have worked with other carcinogens, including radon, polonium, and tobacco smoke.
You worked in an asbestos factory.
Many asbestos factories used localized areas called attics, where workers would spend long, hot hours. The heat and lack of air circulation could cause Asbestos fibers to build up in your body and remain there, causing cancer. However, most attics were not used for indoor work, so workers exposed to asbestos in attics would have been in less danger of developing mesothelioma.
You served in the military.
Since veterans are often at a higher risk of developing cancers, it’s important to remember that you are also at risk of developing mesothelioma if you served in the military. While the military banned asbestos in the 1950s and ‘60s, many veterans today are still exposed to the mineral through their service. While exposures to asbestos in the military were extremely low, recent studies have found higher rates of mesothelioma among veterans who spent time as military personnel in Asia or Europe.
You might have been exposed to asbestos through blood transfusions.
Transfusions, in which a person receives a transfusion of blood from a different person, can result in exposure to infectious agents such as HIV, Hepatitis B, and C, and also to substances such as bacteria, viruses, and genetic material from donated blood. This could result in a higher risk of developing cancers such as mesothelioma. However, most people infected with HIV do not get sick enough to develop invasive cancer and thus have very low rates of developing mesothelioma cancer.
You are a current or former air traffic controller.
As one of the highest-paid staff in the workforce, it’s no surprise that air traffic controllers are at risk of developing mesothelioma. It’s estimated that between 2 and 6% of air traffic controllers may be at risk of developing the disease. Symptoms include lung cancer, but people who have asthma, emphysema, or another chronic condition may be more likely to develop the disease.
Your job could expose you to asbestos.
It’s likely that workers in industries that used asbestos (e.g., mining, construction, and manufacturing) also worked in industries that used other carcinogens such as copper, beryllium, benzene, and arsenic. If you have worked in a workplace that used asbestos, you could also be exposed by breathing in contaminated dust.
Asbestos is a dangerous mineral. Whether you are exposed to it through work or through hobbies and other activities, exposure can lead to mesothelioma. There is no way to know for certain whether you will get mesothelioma, but certain risk factors can help guide your doctor’s diagnosis. If you think you may have been exposed to asbestos, it’s important to speak with a doctor. Your cancer diagnosis is often unexpected, and the sooner you get it, the better.