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How workers exposed to asbestos on the job can protect themselves

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2024 | asbestos

Asbestos exposure on the job was very common just a few decades ago. Many industries, including the maritime sector, construction-related businesses and industrial companies used asbestos or performed services that resulted in workers having workplace exposure to asbestos. Workers pulling up old linoleum flooring or making repairs on Navy vessels could end up exposed to asbestos through the performance of their work duties. That exposure could eventually lead to serious illness.

Asbestos is a known human carcinogen. Those who inhale particulate asbestos have an increased level of risk of developing lung cancer and mesothelioma, which is a cancer that starts in the lining of the organs. How can those who know they have experienced workplace asbestos exposure protect themselves and their future health?

By communicating with medical professionals

Disclosing prior asbestos exposure can be crucial for someone’s health and safety. Especially when people develop mesothelioma through asbestos exposure, they may go decades between their on-the-job exposure and their diagnosis. A gap of anywhere from 20 to 60 years between exposure and diagnosis is possible. Therefore, anyone with a professional history of asbestos exposure likely wants to be proactive about disclosing that to any medical professionals who provide them with treatment. Even years after someone’s retirement, a new doctor needs to know about their prior exposure to more effectively evaluate the underlying causes of someone’s symptoms.

By being proactive about health concerns

Both lung cancer and mesothelioma often initially present minor symptoms. People lose weight without trying, experience fatigue, develop coughs and have other seemingly minor symptoms. Those who are aware of their prior workplace asbestos exposure should never ignore possible cancer symptoms. Any medical concerns that persist for more than a few days might warrant a visit to a primary care physician. The earlier health professionals diagnose someone with cancer, the better someone’s prognosis might be.

Those who receive an accurate diagnosis when they develop a medical issue related to asbestos can get the treatment they need to protect or extend their lives. They can also seek compensation from former employers who put them at risk. Remaining aware of asbestos-related medical risks may help workers better protect themselves from – or in the event of – potentially deadly diseases.