The use of asbestos, with a few exceptions, has been halted in the United States since the late 1970s. The mineral has been declared as a “known human carcinogen” and commonly associated with asbestos cancer. Nevertheless, this toxic material has continued to significantly impact the country for the past 30 years. Many individuals have been adversely affected by exposure to asbestos, even if it was years ago. Asbestos was initially used in more than 3,000 consumer products, including common household items such as hair dryers and toasters. Even though the use of asbestos has been banned, the minerals can still be found in older homes, schools, factories and commercial buildings.
Since asbestos guidelines were established in 1979, more than 45,000 Americans have died of asbestos-related diseases, including lung cancer. Approximately 10,000 Americans will die this year alone of these diseases and 200,000 are currently living with asbestosis.
If your previous exposure to asbestos has resulted in an asbestos-related lung cancer diagnosis, you should immediately consult with an asbestos attorney exposure or law firm to determine whether you have a valid asbestosis claim and thus entitled to monetary compensation.
Detecting Asbestos-Related Lung Disease
The best way to detect and diagnose asbestos-related lung disease is to see an experienced physician. A doctor who has experience in this specialized field of medicine will look at various factors if he suspects an asbestos related disease, including your past exposure to asbestos, your symptoms, and the results of a physical exam and diagnostic tests.
Exposure to Asbestos
If you have had any significant or extended exposure to asbestos, it is very important to inform your doctor. He or she may further question you about your work history and your family history to asbestos exposure. Some follow up questions may include:
- How much asbestos have you been exposed to?
- Was the asbestos that you were exposed to visible dust?
- How long were you exposed to the asbestos?
- How often during the exposure were you in direct contact with the asbestos?
Moreover, exposure to asbestos can also increase the possibility of other types of lung cancer. On the flip side, other factors, such as smoking, can exacerbate asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma.
The next factor your physician may consider is any symptoms you may be experiencing. Two common symptoms that often indicate an asbestos-related lung disease are shortness of breath and coughing. Generally, the symptoms of asbestos-related lung cancer vary depending on which disease you have and the extent of damage to your lungs.
In addition to the above, your healthcare professional should also perform a thorough physical examination to rule out any other possible medical conditions. He will need to listen to your breathing with a stethoscope to determine whether your lungs are making strange noises. For example, your doctor may hear a dull sound when tapping on your chest, indicating a pleural effusion with a lot of fluid buildup. Or, if you are indeed suffering asbestosis, your physician may hear a crackling sound when you breathe in.
One common diagnostic test to detect an asbestos lung injury is an x-ray. This painless test will provide your doctor with pictures of the structures inside your chest, including the lungs. Although a chest x-ray cannot detect asbestos fibers in your lungs, it can detect other asbestos-related disease, such as mesothelioma and asbestosis. A positive finding of masses or abnormal fluid is a clear indication of lung cancer.
Your doctor may prescribe other diagnostic tests, such as:
- Chest computed tomography scan
- Lung function tests
Call a New York Asbestos Lung Cancer Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been previously exposed to asbestos and has as a result been diagnosed with asbestos lung cancer, you may have a valid personal injury claim and be entitled to monetary compensation. The asbestos attorneys at Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. have the knowledge, experience and resources to bring you and your loved ones to justice. For more information or to consult with one of our experienced New York asbestos lung cancer attorneys, please call Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. at 1-800-529-9997.