Diseases from asbestos exposure take a long time to develop; most cases of lung cancer or asbestosis occur 15 or more years after initial exposure.The time between diagnosis of mesothelioma and the time of initial occupational exposure to asbestos commonly has been 30 years or more. Tobacco smokers who have been exposed to asbestos have a far greater risk for lung cancer than do nonsmokers who have been exposed.
When asbestos fibers are inhaled most are expelled but some can become lodged in the lungs and remain there throughout life. These fibers can accumulate and cause scarring and inflammation. People are more likely to experience asbestos-related disorders when exposed to high concentrations of asbestos, are exposed for longer periods of time, and/or are exposed more often. This exposure to can increase the likelihood of lung cancer, mesothelioma, and non-malignant lung conditions such as asbestosis (restricted use of the lungs due to retained asbestos fibers) or changes in the pleura (lining of the chest cavity, outside the lung).
Asbestosis is a serious, progressive disease of the lungs caused by scarring from the inhalation of asbestos fibers: this scarring eventually makes it difficult for oxygen and carbon dioxide to pass through the lung tissue. Asbestosis generally progresses slowly, with a latency period typically 10-20 years after the initial exposure. The disease can vary from asymptomatic (no symptoms) to disabling and potentially fatal. Signs and Symptoms of asbestosis can include shortness of breath, persistent and productive cough, chest tightness and pain, loss of appetite and a dry, crackling sound in the lungs while inhaling.
Mesothelioma is a rare cancer which may affect the lining of the chest cavity, the outside of the lung (pleura), or the abdominal contents (peritoneum). Most mesotheliomas are caused by exposure to asbestos. There is no cure for mesothelioma, which may appear decades after the asbestos exposure.
Research has shown a clear link between exposure to asbestos and respiratory cancers (cancer of the lungs and mesothelioma) in humans and some epidemiologic studies suggest an association between gastrointestinal and colorectal cancers and asbestos exposure.
Mesothelioma claims are different from other workplace injuries and are a special area of the law.Anyone who worked with or around asbestos could develop one of the harmful forms of mesothelioma cancer, but construction workers, factory employees, military personnel and railroad workers are particularly at risk. Because many military tools, vehicles and ships used asbestos as a durable construction material the men and women that came in contact with asbestos during their military careers may now be showing signs of mesothelioma development. But asbestos was used so widely and for so long, an incredibly large number of Americans are thought to be at risk. If you feel that you may have been exposed to asbestos or are now experiencing symptoms of mesothelioma it is important that you consult with a medical professional as soon as possible.
If you are experiencing asbestosis or mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos, or if you have been using a device or medication subject to a drug recall contact Brent M. Cordell for a free initial consultation and case evaluation. We also represent family members of those who have suffered a wrongful death due to dangerous drugs or defective products.