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Asbestos Cancer Symptoms


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Asbestos cancer is also known as Mesothelioma. Nearly 3000 people across the United States are affected by it each year. Asbestos cancer has a high mortality rate mainly because it is diagnosed quite late. Asbestos cancer symptoms arise between 20 to 50 years after being exposed to asbestos.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a mineral made up of silicate compounds and is easily found in our environment. It is widely used in the industries because of its amazingly useful properties. It is used for insulation purposes, in sound absorption, paints, coating, as fire retardant, etc.

Generally, people working in the following domains are highly exposed to Asbestos which increases their risk of developing Asbestos cancer after few years:

  • Construction
  • Asbestos textile
  • Mining
  • Automobile
  • Firefighting and rescue
  • Ship building industry

What are the symptoms of Asbestos Cancer?

The symptoms of asbestos cancer occur after what is known as latency period. Latency period is the time between exposure to asbestos and the onset of symptoms. The symptoms which occur in the initial stages are usually not severe and can be cured by simply visiting the practitioner.

The symptoms of Asbestos cancer differ according to the type of Asbestos. There are three types of Asbestos cancer- pleural, pericardial, and peritoneal. Each of these types of Asbestos cancer along with their symptoms is mentioned below:

Pleural Asbestos Cancer-Symptoms

As the name suggests, this cancer affects the pleura which is the lining of the lungs. The symptoms which occur due to pleural asbestos cancer are listed below:

  • People with this cancer usually have difficulty in breathing. This is usually mistaken to be tiredness, allergic reaction, or asthma symptom. However, this happens due to the expansion of the tumors in the pleura of the lungs.
  • Breathing difficulties usually disrupts sleep causing insomnia
  • Sometimes, fluid gets accumulated in the pleura which again causes difficulty in breathing accompanied with coughing
  • People also experience loss of appetite which ultimately leads to weight loss
  • The fluid accumulation in the pleura causes chest pain and sometimes abdominal pain
  • Expansion of the tumors in the pleura can make swallowing difficult in this case. This is also referred to as esophageal dysphasia.
  • The voice tends to change and usually becomes hoarse or husky

Pericardial Asbestos Cancer-Symptoms

In Pericardial asbestos cancer, the pericardium is affected. The pericardium is the lining of the heart. This type of asbestos cancer eventually spreads to the lungs. The common symptoms corresponding to pericardial asbestos cancer are listed below:

  • In this type of Asbestos cancer more pain is experienced in the chest than any other part of the body
  • The person might continue coughing abnormally for longer period of time
  • The person also feels highly fatigued even though he/she has not performed any or minimum physical activity
  • The person also experiences shortness of breath

Peritoneal Asbestos Cancer Symptoms

In peritoneal asbestos cancer, the lining of the abdomen known as peritoneum is affected. The peritoneum allows smooth functioning of all the organs located in the abdominal region. This is caused due to deposition of asbestos particles in the lining of the abdomen. The symptoms corresponding to this type of asbestos cancer are listed below:

  • As the lining of the abdomen is affected, the person experiences severe abdominal pain
  • The accumulated fluid in the lining tissues and tumors cause swelling in the abdominal region
  • The person gets nauseating feeling which is the feeling of being sick
  • This also interferes with the normal functioning of the bowel
  • Anemia is also common accompanied with loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Like pleural and pericardial asbestos cancer, the person also experiences difficulty while breathing

The above symptoms of asbestos cancer can also indicate presence of pneumonia, bronchitis, or allergic reaction to allergens, etc. This makes it very difficult to diagnose asbestos cancer in its initial stages.

Another thing is that the asbestos fibers tend to remain our system even after 50 years. Thus, people don't even remember the time when they were exposed to it, once the asbestos cancer symptoms start arising. So make sure to inform your physician if you were ever exposed to asbestos in the past. This can give you adequate time to complete the necessary treatment.

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