Who needs to be examined?
Individuals who have been exposed (or suspect they have been exposed) to asbestos fibers on the job or at home via a family contact should inform their physician of their exposure history and any symptoms. Asbestos fibers can be measured in urine, feces, mucus, or material rinsed out of the lungs.
A thorough physical examination, including a chest x-ray and lung function tests, may be recommended. It is important to note that chest x-rays cannot detect asbestos fibers in the lungs, but they can help identify any lung changes resulting from asbestos exposure. Interpretation of the chest x-ray may require the help of a specialist who is experienced in reading x-rays for asbestos-related diseases. Other tests also may be necessary.
Almost anyone who has inhaled asbestos dust is at risk. Even a worker’s families and friends can be at risk, because asbestos can often be carried on clothing.
Exposure to asbestos dust can occur at major construction job sites, in shipyards, in industry, and during construction or renovation of commercial buildings. See the list at right for certain occupations that are known to be those where risk of exposure to asbestos is great, and the numbers of people in such occupations contracting asbestos disease are high.
Why Mesothelioma Mostly Affect Men?
Millions of workers have been exposed to asbestos over the years, and the unlucky ones have discovered several decades later just what an impact their work had on their health. Many of the cases of mesothelioma coming to light today are in men, as it was mainly men that worked with asbestos several decades ago.
The dangers of asbestos exposure have now been far more widely recognised. However, millions of people worldwide have been exposed to this mineral.
The diagnosis of mesothelioma is not always easy. Many doctors are still unfamiliar with the symptoms which could be put down to a number of other, more common diseases. Timely diagnosis of mesothelioma is particularly difficult because of the latency period between contraction and display of symptoms.