Latency Period For Asbestosis Is Up To 10 Years After Exposure
Malignant mesothelioma is a type of cancer affecting the thin layers covering and lining organs. The mesothelium is actually two layers of cells with lubricating secretions between them, which surround the organs to allow movement. In malignant mesothelioma, cancer cells emerge among the healthy ones. When the tumor reaches a critical mass, it may affect overall health, as well as prompt medical attention and diagnosis. When cancer strikes these tissues, it is rarely benign.
It is important to realize that this illness occurs as a result of inhaling the hazardous substance asbestos. Limiting this by taking appropriate precautions are key concerns when renovating older buildings where use was prevalent. Removal of the substance, or the handling of deteriorating materials that contain it, is regulated because of the risk associated.
Asbestosis—scarring of the lungs due to inhalations of the fibers which was first detected in textile workers—is a commonly accompanying disease. It may appear beforehand, but its damage overlaps. The symptoms are similar, and include: trouble breathing, especially after exertion, fatigue, chest pain, and insomnia. These often do not become apparent for 5 to 10 years following initial contact with their stimulus. Symptoms are usually mild until later stages when complications like heart failure may result. More than half of those with this illness present to doctors with a dry, crackling noise in breathing and clubbing of the fingers from low oxygenation in the blood.
This condition is sometimes diagnosed as pulmonary fibrosis, which also affects the lungs and their function. In both cases, there is progressive damage to the alveoli within each lung, making gas diffusion to the blood and breathing difficult. However, in this condition, the cause is usually unknown—what the medical community calls “idiopathic.” If malignant mesothelioma also develops, a biopsy may reveal the carcinogen to be the real cause for the misdiagnosed problem. It is also important for a doctor to administer a test for tuberculosis to rule it out, since their symptoms are similar.
Diagnosis is difficult because its appearance overlaps with several other illnesses. A doctor may order several tests, including x-rays of the chest and abdomen, a CAT scan or MRI, in order to help determine the exact cause of the discomfort. A bronchoscopy is less invasive than a biopsy and can confirm the presence of inflaming fibers from the fluid that is rinsed out from the test. Depending on its location, the cancer may be classified as localized or advanced if it has spread to other parts of the body, like the lymph nodes, other surfaces in the chest, or to the abdominal organs.
Treatments vary, but may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and a combination of drugs suppressing the immune system. When diagnosed with this or any related illness, improving overall health and cessation of smoking is a critical step to take in order to reduce further damage. Taking the appropriate steps when this potent carcinogen is first suspected can diminish the risk of developing asbestos cancer later in life.
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