Most people don’t know much about asbestos. They may know it can cause mesothelioma, if they have seen anything about the many mesothelioma lawsuits that have been filed in recent years, but for the most part, people are unaware of what asbestos is and how it can harm their health. Asbestos particles are naturally occurring fibers that have been used widely in construction projects in the past. Today, while asbestos use is more regulated, it is still often used in building projects.

If you have ever been around asbestos, you should be aware of the risks. Asbestos-related illnesses develop over a long period of time, and the first symptoms generally appear after 10-15 years of exposure. Although most of these illnesses are known to be fatal, if diagnosed early, some can be successfully treated.

Here are some of the most common asbestos-related illnesses:

1) Laryngeal Cancer

Although laryngeal cancer is pretty rare, a recent study showed a link between asbestos exposure could cause cancer in the larynx.

2) Asbestosis

Asbestosis is a progressive pulmonary disease which is a result of inhaling asbestos fibers frequently to the point that they accumulate in the lungs. This accumulation causes scar tissue to form. Over time, the scar tissue hardens the lungs, which limits the elasticity. This causes many health issues, such as chest pain, and if left untreated, it can lead to lung cancer.

3) Ovarian Cancer

Asbestos exposure has also been linked to ovarian cancer in women. Although the exact reasons for this connection are not know, a recent study supports medical claims that asbestos can put women at higher risk for ovarian cancer.

4) Clubbed Fingers

In severe cases of asbetosis the tips of the fingers can become so swollen and misshaped that they take on a box-like or “clubbed” appearance.

5) Benign Pulmonary Disease

Benign Pulmonary Disease happens when constant exposure to asbestos affects the lining of the lungs but does not actually cause lung cancer. Patients with Benign Pulmonary Disease may have chest pain and other symptoms, and they must be monitored, as they have a heightened risk for lung cancer.

6) Mesothelioma

This is a type of cancer of the lining of the lungs and abdomen. Asbestos exposure is the only known cause of mesothelioma. The asbestos fibers penetrate the walls of the lungs and tissue in the abdomen, causing cancer.

7) Lung Cancer

Asbestos exposure can greatly increase a person’s risk of lung cancer. If that person is also a smoker, the risk is even worse. The asbestos fibers penetrate the lining of the lungs, which can cause the cancer to develop.

8) Prostate Cancer

Finnish and Australian studies show that asbestos could also trigger prostate cancer, a malignancy that develops in the male reproductive organ.

9) Pericardial Mesothelioma

This is a very rare type of asbestos-related cancer. It is a type of cancer that impacts the lining surrounding the heart, and it has been linked to constant exposure to asbestos. The pericardium is defined as a sac-like space surrounding the internal organ, and this is where the malignant tumor usually grows. Some of the most common symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, and persistent coughing.

10) Peritoneal Mesothelioma

This is a type of cancer linked to asbestos-exposure that is present around the outside coils of the intestine. Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include nausea, vomiting, a swollen abdomen, and fever. Some patients also experience urinary and bowel problems.

If you have worked in an occupation or been present in an environment that puts you at risk for asbestos exposure, you could be at risk for one or more of the illnesses listed above. If you have been exposed to asbestos, it is important to closely monitor your health and get any symptoms checked out right away. Many of these illnesses are deadly, but the sooner they are found, the more effectively they can be treated.

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