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Asbestos Related Diseases

There are some asbestos-related illnesses such as:

This concerns spongy lung tissue scarring and inflammation. It generally spreads all over the lung (diffuses) but it also can concentrate in the lower part of the lungs affecting their both sides. Heavy exposure is required for it to develop; moreover the development takes up to 15-20 years after the first exposure. Progressive breathlessness, dry cough and sometimes weight loss are the usual symptoms. About 30% of these diseases cause swollen or curved nails, known as "finger clubbing". They are diagnosed through detail studying an occupational history and hearing the lung bases with stethoscope for crackles or "peeling apart Velcro".


This form of cancer is quite rare and mostly fatal. Mesothelioma forms the tumors on the membranes that lungs, chest, abdomen, and heart. It is possible that in some rare cases the symptoms of mesothelioma will not appear within 30-50 years after the asbestos exposure, however in most cases it happens sooner.

Lung Cancer

This kind of cancer can be cured only in case the tumor is removed surgically, though by the time of the diagnosis, it is not much developed to be removed through surgery, that is why at early stages it is treated with radiation or, less commonly, chemotherapy. These means are palliative because they can cure the cancer rarely, though they effectively slow it down.

Pleural plaques

Such forms as pleural plaques and pleural fibrosis can not be treated, however no symptoms or discomfort are caused by them.

Pleural effusion

This form of cancer can be treated through the removal of the fluid. There are also some procedures that can prevent it from coming back.

Diffuse Pleural Thickening

This cancer may occur even in case the exposure has taken place once. It involves the lining of the lung, mostly in its lower part. It sometimes covers up to four ribs while extending on both sides of the chest. The symptoms that can be caused are progressive breathlessness, reduced chest wall movement, and chest pain.

Other Cancers

It is suggested by the evidence that the ingested asbestos can be the reason for esophagus, larynx, oral cavity, stomach, colon, and kidney cancers. American Cancer Society can give you further information concerning asbestos-related cancers.

Autoimmune Diseases

The University of Montan has found out during its study that people facing high exposures of asbestos can possibly suffer autoimmune diseases in future e.g. rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. The study hasn't yet found a direct link between autoimmune disease and asbestos exposure, though it has discovered that autoantibody activity in a group of people that can be a basis of the future disease is highly linked with asbestos exposure.

Symptoms of asbestos-related lung disease

The symptoms resemble interstitial fibrosis, pleural fibrosis, benign pleural effusion, lung cancer or mesothelioma, all these generally depend on two factors:

- extent of the disease, according to the chest (usually determined from the chest x-ray or CT scan) and, for cancer, spread to other parts of the body;

- existing conditions, such as smoking, concerning lung disease.

In early interstitial fibrosis there are no symptoms in most cases, but disease advances slowly, breath is the main complaint.

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