Mesothelioma is an aggressive, malignant cancer that attacks the mesothelium, i.e., lining, of your lungs. The build-up of the microscopic asbestos fibers you and many other workers inhale on a daily basis causes it.
FindLaw explains that you face the greatest risk of asbestos inhalation if you work as one of the following:
- Construction worker
- Pipefitter or welder
- Stonemason or bricklayer
- Auto mechanic, particularly if you do brake repair work
You also face high risk if you work as a firefighter, building renovator or demolition worker.
Lengthy build-up period
The exceedingly tiny airborn asbestos fibers take a long time to build up in your lungs before they produce full-fledged mesothelioma. You may not receive an actual mesothelioma diagnosis until 25-30 years after you first became exposed to asbestos. In the meantime, you continue to unknowingly inhale these fibers every day on your job. You can also unknowingly ingest them when they adhere to your eating utensils, cups, glasses, thermos bottles or your food and beverages themselves.
Unfortunately, the early symptoms of mesothelioma mimic those of numerous other illnesses and conditions, and include the following:
- Frequent coughing
- Shortness of breath
- Chest and/or abdominal pain
- Frequent fever
- Frequent night sweats
- Muscle weakness
Mesothelioma has no known cure. Nor does it go into remission like many other cancers. Once diagnosed, your remaining life expectancy drops to less than two years and your symptoms become ever more severe. Your doctor likely will recommend breathing treatments to make it easier for you to breathe and pain pills to reduce your pain as much as possible.