Posted on February 21st, 2017
Exposure to asbestos can occur in multiple ways, from environmental exposure - if you live close to large deposits of asbestos - to inhaling fibers of toxic minerals in your own house since asbestos has been a very popular building material until the 1980s. However, the majority of people who now suffer from an asbestos-related disease such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, or asbestosis have been exposed to the carcinogen in the workplace.
Occupational exposure is responsible for most diagnosed cases, as employees who worked in certain industries had been in regular contact with very high levels of asbestos and oftentimes were not required to use protective equipment to prevent contamination.
The symptoms, which typically accompany a form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure may not seem very distressing in the beginning, hence why the majority of people who are going to be diagnosed with a serious disease tend to thoughtlessly dismiss the initial signs or attribute them to a common respiratory condition such as bronchitis, asthma or pneumonia. Nevertheless, the severity of these symptoms will only continue to increase within the following months, and regrettably, a lot of people find out they are suffering from lung cancer or mesothelioma when cancer is considerably advanced. As the disease progresses, the number of effective and safe treatment options becomes lower.
While lung cancer caused by exposure to asbestos is undeniably severe and difficult to keep under control, mesothelioma implies even more physical and emotional distress - it is significantly more aggressive and has a tendency to spread rapidly to other organs as well. Consequently, mesothelioma is generally associated with a poor prognosis and a life expectancy of one year or less, if cancer has reached the advanced stages. If you have a history of asbestos exposure and experience one or more of the following symptoms, regardless of their frequency or intensity, we strongly recommend you to get tested by a specialist, as you are at a high risk of developing an asbestos-related disease:
Over 75 occupational groups have been exposed to tremendous concentrations of asbestos in the workplace throughout the last century.
Annually, over 12.000 people lose their lives over asbestos-related diseases in the U.S.
If you had a job in one of the industries below, you should not postpone getting screened for the presence of asbestos fibers in your lungs, especially if you already have symptoms, as the risk of contamination is the highest for employees who worked in the following trades:
People with a history of asbestos exposure need to undergo a periodical medical examination to timely find out about a potential disease they may have developed. However, only a medical professional who specializes in diseases that occur as a result of asbestos exposure can assign you a correct and accurate diagnosis. Because the symptoms of diseases which stem from asbestos exposure are very similar to those of more common and less serious diseases and conditions, misdiagnosis is, unfortunately, a very common occurrence among the victims of asbestos exposure. You can first be examined by your physician, which should know about your asbestos exposure history so that they can take into consideration the possibility of a related disease. Nevertheless, seeking a second and even a third opinion is essential when it comes to diseases caused by asbestos exposure, as the rate of misdiagnosis is very high.
If you are a veteran, you can undergo asbestos screening at a VA medical facility, whose medical specialists should be able to determine if you have a disease as a result of military asbestos exposure. Nevertheless, your disease may also be mistaken for a more common one, since diseases which stem from asbestos exposure are rare, so you will also need to seek a second opinion for a precise diagnosis. Having a wrong diagnosis will not only affect your chances of receiving appropriate treatment for your disease, but also the legal right to recover compensation for your injury, as only certain diseases qualify you for filing a claim with asbestos trust funds and with the VA if you are a veteran. The following are the diseases which make you eligible for recovering compensation:
If, however, you receive one of the following diagnoses, you will need to undergo asbestos screening to determine whether asbestos fibers are present in your lungs, as these diseases and conditions do not qualify you for compensation unless there are asbestos fibers in your lungs:
Distinguishing between these diseases is undoubtedly a challenging task for medical professionals, even for those who specialize in diagnosing diseases that occur as a consequence of asbestos exposure, which is why you need multiple opinions concerning your diagnosis. For instance, if you have a disease that affects your lungs, such as pleural mesothelioma or lung cancer, you may receive a diagnosis of pneumonia, chronic bronchitis, asthma, or emphysema, as the symptoms are very similar. If you have peritoneal mesothelioma, you may be assigned a diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome, hernia, ovarian cancer, or ulcerative colitis. Thereby, seeking multiple opinions from medical specialists is crucial in receiving a correct diagnosis.
With over 25 years of experience in diagnosing diseases that stem from asbestos exposure, our medical specialists provide asbestos screening free of charge to former industrial workers and veterans with a history of asbestos exposure. They will carefully examine your most recent chest X-ray to determine whether you have asbestos fibers in your lungs and assess the damage they have caused to the organs, as well as employ other tests and exams, such as blood and breathing tests, to assign you a correct diagnosis. To undergo a free of charge asbestos screening, you will first need to call our law firm to determine if you are eligible for one. If you are, we strongly encourage you to come to Birmingham, Alabama to undergo asbestos screening.