The unknown, is what most people fear most. This is certainly the case when it comes to mesothelioma, which is almost a silent cancer. Unlike many other forms of cancer, this is one that creeps up on its victims. Generally, it is not until it is too late, that most people figure out that they have it. The fact that it takes 20-40 years to develop certainly doesn’t help.
How Can It Go Undetected?
Mesothelioma develops thanks to exposure to asbestos. This material was used, mainly in the construction industry due to its insulating properties, until around the early 90s. Official regulations relating to the use of asbestos came in the late 60s and they tightened regulations each decade.
The small and sharp fibres from asbestos get lodged in the lungs. This is not something that an individual will feel instantly. Over time, the lungs fester and the cancer develops. It develops slowly and even those that have been to a doctor’s surgery for x-rays and further testing, are not diagnosed.
How Can Doctors Miss Something So Important?
For many years before the mesothelioma cancer develops, there is nothing for doctors to see. If they do not know that the patient has been exposed to asbestos, then they have no reason to think that this could be an issue. So, the patient goes back to the doctors, time and time again.
They might complain of abdominal pain or shortness of breath. Again the doctor will run some tests and put the symptoms down to a much less fatal illness, such as a small chest infection.
By the time the cancer actually develops, the patient doesn’t even visit the doctor, because they “know” in their heads that this is just a simple chest infection. This is why many of the sufferers that actually get diagnosed only have a few years or even months to live; they have been diagnosed too late!
If you worked in the construction industry during the 60s-90s, then it is likely that you will have had some level of exposure. The main people that will have suffered from high levels of exposure include those that fitted loft insulation and pipe insulation. This means that builders, roofers and plumbers are at the highest level of risk.
That being said, carpenters that regularly boxed up pipe work also would have been exposed. Even if you did not directly work with asbestos, it is still worth investigating further. If you were working in rooms that were not well ventilated and someone in that room disturbed a piece of asbestos, the particles would have circulated the room and it is likely that you would have inhaled them.
What Should You Do If You Have Been Exposed?
There are lots of things you can do if you have been exposed. First of all, go to a doctor and explain your situation; they will instantly run tests. If you are diagnosed with mesothelioma lung cancer there are lots of treatments include radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery that can help.
Alex has been writing for a variety of high quality blogs throughout the world since 2007. Since he started writing on the internet, he has had over 100 posts published on dozens of different blogs. His writing niches range from sports, to health, fitness and even advice relating to illnesses.