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Facts about Lung Nodules all Asbestos-Exposed Workers Should Know

By Treven Pyles

Posted on October 23rd, 2019

Getting to know that there is a "suspicious spot in your lung" can be quite alarming as it indicates the presence of lung nodules in the lungs. People who have served in the military and those who have had a history of occupational asbestos exposure are at a greater risk of developing lung nodules.

Occupational asbestos exposure occurs in industrial settings, construction, and also in the Navy and military. More than 75 types of occupations in the U.S. exposed workers to high levels of asbestos. Though every branch of the military made use of asbestos, people who served in the U.S. Navy were most severely exposed to asbestos as more than 300 asbestos-containing products were in use on Naval ships. Once a diagnosis of lung nodule has been received, it is important for all asbestos exposure victims to know these facts:

1. Remember, there may not be any symptoms associated with lung nodules

Generally, lung nodules develop without any associated symptoms, and because of this reason most of the time, these are discovered accidentally during routine chest imaging for an annual check-up or on an unrelated doctor consultation. Lung nodules show up as a spot on a chest X-ray or CT scan. In cases where symptoms appear, they are likely because of the condition that led to the growth of the lung nodule. Some of the symptoms that lead to an X-ray or CT scan order include the following:

  • Prolonged cough
  • Wheezing
  • Feeling short of breath
  • Coughing up blood
  • Fever
  • Pneumonia

2. Though more than half of the lung nodules are benign, it should always be suspected to be cancerous

Lung nodules are soft-tissue masses that can be rounded or irregularly shaped measuring 3 cm or less in diameter. If the lung nodule tends to grow and changes its appearance quickly showing ridged edges, it is likely to be cancerous. Lung nodules can be early signs of potential lung cancer, and therefore, people with prolonged occupational exposure to asbestos should consider lung nodules as a condition that requires immediate attention.

3. Additional testing is necessary to determine what caused your lung nodule

Follow-up chest scans may be ordered in order to closely monitor the lung nodule and check if the nodule has changed in size, shape, and appearance. Further, additional tests such as CT scan, positron emission tomography (PET) scan, bronchoscopy, and a needle biopsy may be ordered to determine the cause of the lung nodule. In people with asbestos exposure history, the diagnosis of lung nodules often indicates the onset of lung cancer and X-ray of chest can show the presence of asbestos fibers in the lungs.

4. A lung nodule may commonly be attributed to lung infections or related to old scars

Misdiagnosis is very common among asbestos-related victims, which is why it is important to let your doctor know about your work history and associated prolonged asbestos exposure. It is always better to seek a second opinion from a doctor who has specialized in asbestos-related diseases and can read X-rays to decide whether the lung nodule is due to asbestos exposure or some other condition. Getting an accurate diagnosis as early as possible helps you receive appropriate treatment as well as rightful compensation.

5. You are eligible to receive compensation if asbestos fibers are found in your lungs when lung nodules show up

The attorneys at ELG can help you recover financial compensation by taking up your case if, in addition to your lung nodule diagnosis, you have subsequent medical evaluation and screening with a chest X-ray showing the presence of asbestos fibers in your lungs. We will file your claim with one or more asbestos trust funds, depending on how many workplaces have exposed you to asbestos.