Asbestos exposure in the workplace can cause cancer

Mesothelioma is a fatal cancer that develops after a person in Knoxville has been exposed to asbestos. This often occurs in the workplace, particularly in the construction industry where a person is working on old houses or schools, but it can also take place in auto repair shops, shipyards and factories. It is estimated that between 70 to 80 percent of those who develop mesothelioma had been exposed to asbestos while on the job.

When asbestos-containing materials are agitated, fibers of asbestos are sent into the air. If a worker inhales or swallows these fibers, they can become lodged in the lining of the lungs, heart or abdominal cavity, causing mesothelioma.

It usually takes decades of exposure for a worker to notice symptoms of mesothelioma, by which time the person has developed an incurable medical condition. Some symptoms include fatigue and mild pain, followed by difficulty breathing, ongoing pain and weight loss.

About 3,000 people will be diagnosed with mesothelioma annually. Pleural mesothelioma of the lungs is the most prevalent type of mesothelioma, constituting 75 percent of all mesothelioma diagnoses. Ten to 20 percent of those diagnosed with mesothelioma have peritoneal mesothelioma of the lining of the abdominal cavity. Finally, 1 percent of all cases of mesothelioma are pericardial of the heart.

As of right now, there is no cure for mesothelioma. Eventually, the cancer will weaken a person to the point where not only can they not work, but they may need constant medical care. Being unable to work can cause a person to suffer a severe financial blow, leaving them unable to meet not only their medical expenses but also their daily living expenses. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration recognizes that cancer can be a disabling condition, and allows those with cancer to pursue Social Security disability benefits for these types of illnesses.

Source: Asbestos.com, “Mesothelioma,” accessed Oct. 22, 2016