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Asbestos Exposure Health Concerns

Lung Cancer

Asbestos is can cause other cancers besides mesothelioma, such as lung cancer. There are different types of lung cancer, identified by how the cancer cells look under a microscope. Early stages of lung cancer cause no symptoms. As the cancer grows, a person may experience symptoms such as a persistent cough, cough that gets worse over time or a cough expelling blood, trouble breathing or shortness of breath, constant chest pain, hoarse voice, tiredness, unexplained weight loss and frequent respiratory infections.

A doctor suspecting a patient may have lung cancer or who's patient complains of these symptoms should first review medical and occupational history and perform a physical exam to check for signs of illness. Blood test, chest x-ray and/or computed tomography (CT) scan may also be ordered. However, the only way to confirm the presence of lung cancer is for a pathologist to identify cancer cells in a collected sample using a microscope. A doctor can conduct to collect samples of fluid, cells or tissue for laboratory analysis by a pathologist. "Staging" the cancer (determining what stage the cancer is in) may involve blood or other tests, computed tomography (CT) scan, bone scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan or positron emission tomography (PET) scan.


When asbestos fibers lodge in the lungs, they can cause a respiratory disease called asbestosis. It causes fibrosis, or scar tissue, to develop inside the lungs. This inhibits lung expansion, preventing oxygen absorption into the blood and removal of carbon dioxide from the body.

Asbestosis is also known by the names fibrotic lung disease, pneumoconiosis and interstitial pulmonary fibrosis. Symptoms of asbestosis may include chest pain, cough, shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, nail abnormalities and clubbing of the fingers. In addition to reviewing the patient's detailed medical history and occupational history for asbestos exposure, doctors may use diagnostic tools such as a chest x-ray, pulmonary function test, computed tomography (CT) scan or bronchoscopy in the diagnosis of asbestosis.

Pleural Disorders

Asbestos exposure can cause changes or disorders in the thin layer of tissue covering of the outside of the lungs and interior of the chest cavity, called the pleura. One condition called pleural plaque, characterized by the thickening or hardening of the pleura, usually causes no symptoms. Symptoms of pleural effusion, another condition caused by asbestos exposure, may include a sharp chest pain that is worse when coughing or taking deep breaths, cough, fever, hiccups, rapid breathing and shortness of breath. Sometimes there are no symptoms at all. A doctor can diagnose these conditions by listening to your chest, or ordering additional scans.

If you have been exposed to asbestos and have developed mesothelioma, lung cancer, or other condition that may be related to asbestos exposure, you must protect your rights. You do have options under the law. The law offices of Pulaski Law Firm can help deal with at least some of the costs and some of the trauma associated with this diagnosis. Contact us at (800) 431-9730.

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Houston, Texas 77098
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