Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Mesothelioma--ever seen those commercials?
Freelancer Alex Johnson generously contributed this rundown on this disease—which is fast becoming a household word due to those lawyer ads.
Mesothelioma is a slow-growing cancer of the mesothelium—the lining surrounding the vital organs.
It is highly associated with asbestos—affecting a lot of workers, mainly male, employed in construction and the shipyards from 1930-1970.
But these are not the only people who get this type of cancer, Often doctors are mystified—how did this person get it?
You can get it from working in an office or store with asbestos insulation that has not been removed. A subtle powder may be in the air.
A wife may have laundered work clothes with asbestos dust on them. Even hugging someone with asbestos exposure could be a risk.
Asbestos was banned decades ago—so the most likely exposure would be in old buildings (even schools), which constitute 15% of all buildings.
Schools do come in for focused inspections. If you live in an older home where the insulation has not been replaced, you may be able to get government money to get rid of the asbestos.
If you fit this—being around old buildings or working in construction decades ago—and experience a dry raspy cough with no phlegm, coughing up blood, difficulty swallowing, painful breathing or shortness of breath, or lumps on your chest--talk to the doctor. Be sure to mention those years ripping out school ceilings or building ships.
Calling the lawyer on TV is optional.