Screening for Asbestos and Mesothelioma
Screening for Mesothelioma
People who have been exposed (or suspect they have been exposed) to asbestos
fibers at work 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 washed from the lungs.
A complete physical examination, including chest x-ray and pulmonary function tests may be recommended. It is important to note that chest radiography can not detect asbestos fibers in the lungs, but can help to identify lung changes by exposure to asbestos. Interpretation of the x-ray may require the help of a specialist with expertise in reading X-rays for asbestos-related diseases. Other tests may be needed.
Almost anyone who has inhaled asbestos dust is at risk. Even a worker's family and friends can be at risk because asbestos often can be worn on clothing.
Exposure to asbestos can result in major job sites for construction, shipbuilding, industry, and during construction or renovation of commercial buildings. See the list at right for some occupations that are known to those in which the risk of asbestos exposure is great, and the number of people in occupations such contracting asbestos disease are high.
Why does mesothelioma primarily effect men?
Millions of workers have been exposed to asbestos for years, and the unfortunate have discovered several decades later, just the impact that their work had on their health. Most cases of mesothelioma coming to light today are men, as it was mostly men who worked with asbestos for decades.
The dangers of asbestos exposure have been much more widely recognized. Yet millions of people around the world have been exposed to this mineral.
The diagnosis of mesothelioma is not always easy. Many doctors still are not familiar with the symptoms that can be attributed to a number of other common diseases. Early diagnosis of mesothelioma is particularly difficult due to the latency period between contraction and the onset of symptoms.