Inhalation or ingestion of asbestos fibers can cause many diseases and a wide array of health problems and symptoms including Mesothelioma (both peritoneal and pleural), lung cancer, esophageal cancer, larynx cancer, stomach cancer, colon cancer, cancer of the kidney, and other cancers. Non-cancerous asbestos-related diseases include asbestosis, pleural plaques, and pleural thickening.

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the lungs and is linked to asbestos exposure.Asbestos disease occurs when minuscule asbestos fibers become air borne and are then inhaled or swallowed by those in its proximity. Invisible to the naked eye, colorless and odorless, inhaled or ingested asbestos fibers become embedded in the lungs and abdomen and resulting over the passage of time in Mesothelioma as well as other cancers, describe below. It can take many years for the cancer to develop- sometimes decades, -- before the person exposed is even aware of a medical problem. A person who has been diagnosed with asbestosis (a non-cancerous scarring of the lungs) is at an increased risk of developing Mesothelioma in the future.

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer associated almost exclusively with asbestos exposure. Millions of people in the U.S. have been exposed to asbestos, and it is estimated that 3,000 people are diagnosed with Mesothelioma annually.

If you have been exposed to asbestos over a period of time at the workplace you should be aware of your increased risk of developing asbestos-related disease and take appropriate steps by seeking medical consultation and follow-up.

Asbestos Exposure

Workplace asbestos exposure occurs over a wide range of job sites and trades. Some sources estimate that at one point there were over three- thousand uses of asbestos ranging from mining and milling to shipbuilding and repair, and building construction.

Hazardous exposures to asbestos may have also occurred from atmospheric release off-site releases from the mining, milling and manufacture of asbestos products. Such releases may have exposed residents in nearby communities. According to estimates, off-site release from construction sites has resulted in environmental asbestos levels approximately 100 times greater than the levels that naturally occur in the environment.

Additionally, exposure to unsuspecting family members at home may occur through clothing contaminated at the workplace, and worn or brought home by a family member working with asbestos containing products at the job. Other non- occupational exposure to asbestos are believed to occur through the release of fibers from existing asbestos-containing surface materials, such as those in schools, residences and public buildings.

Those who believe or know they have been exposed to asbestos, in any capacity, should inform their physician immediately of such exposure history. It is important that your doctor be informed of any symptoms that might be a result of your exposure to asbestos. This is by no means a comprehensive list of symptoms that might manifest in the event of an asbestos-related disease, but if you suffer from shortness of breath, coughing, blood in your mucus when you cough, chest pains, abdomen pains, significant weight loss, or difficulty in swallowing, you should contact your doctor immediately. You should receive regular medical care and checkups - ask your doctor about receiving a complete physical examination, including chest x-rays and pulmonary function tests.

Only your doctor can counsel you on your best medical course of action. It is important to remember that even if you receive a clean bill of health, you should visit your doctor regularly. If you recall from above, asbestos-related diseases are "latent" diseases that might not become symptomatic for 10 to 50 years. It should also be noted that interpretation of your chest x-ray may require the help of a specialist who is experienced in reading x-rays for asbestos-related diseases.

It is also important to seek timely legal consultation if you learn of untoward health affects related to asbestos exposure.

Roberta Ashkin has represented thousands of asbestos workers and members of their families for injuries related to dangerous asbestos exposure in the workplace and the home throughout New York State and other jurisdictions nationwide.

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Ashkin Law Firm
Roberta Ashkin, Esq.
300 East 42nd St. 14th Fl
New York New York 10017
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