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Asbestos-Related Diseases

Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure which most often occurs in the thin membrane lining of the lungs, chest, abdomen and heart. Symptoms of mesothelioma include shortness of breath, severe chest pains and persistent cough.

People who have manufactured, installed or worked with or around asbestos-containing products are at an increased risk of contracting mesothelioma. Also at risk are veterans of the U.S. Navy or mesrchant marines, people who live near asbestos mining areas,  asbestos product factories or shipyards where use of asbestos has produced large or moderate quantities of airborne asbestos fibers.

There is no known cure for malignant mesothelioma. Prognosis depends on the size and stage of the tumor, the cell type and whether or not the tumor responds to mesothelioma treatment.

Lung cancer

Lung cancer causes the greatest number of deaths related to asbestos exposure. The occurrence of lung cancer in people who are directly involved in the mining, milling, manufacturing, installation and use of asbestos and silica products is much higher than in the general population.

The most common symptoms of lung cancer are coughing and change in breathing. Other symptoms include shortness of breath, persistent chest pains, hoarseness and anemia.

Asbestosis and silicosis

Asbestosis and silicosis are serious, chronic, non-cancerous respiratory diseases. Inhaled asbestos fibers and silica dust aggravate lung tissue, causing them to scar.

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Symptoms of asbestosis may include shortness of breath and a dry crackling sound in the lungs while inhaling (known as “rales”). In its advanced stages, asbestosis may cause cardiac failure.

It is important to note that there may be no noticeable symptoms for an individual with asbestosis or silicosis. There is no effective treatment to reverse the scarring on lung tissue caused by inhalation of asbestos or silica. These diseases may be disabling or even fatal.

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