There are a few common diseases that can develop after exposure to asbestos. Since the naturally-occurring mineral is a carcinogen, it is a hazard to human health. In many cases, patients are diagnosed with a respiratory disease or a fatal cancer after they have been exposed at work or at home.
If you are exposed to asbestos repeatedly over time, these are a few of the diseases you are at high risk for:
Mesothelioma is a cancer that is caused solely by asbestos exposure. There are three types of mesothelioma that usually affect asbestos exposure victims, as well as other, less common types that affect individuals as well. Find out more on our Mesothelioma page.
Asbestos-caused lung cancer has been shown to develop in the absence of other cancer-causing agents. Those that smoke tobacco are at greater risk for developing the disease than those who have been exposed to asbestos and do not smoke. Our Lung Cancer overview touches more on this asbestos-related disease.
Asbestos is a respiratory disease that can be treated but not cured. Tiny asbestos fibers are able to damage tissue in the lungs, causing scarring, inflammation, and the hardening of the lungs. Take a look at our Asbestosis page for more information.
Those exposed to asbestos at work, at home, or elsewhere have been known to develop asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer years or decades after they come into contact with the substance. While long-term exposure is more likely to cause a fatal asbestos-related disease, it is important to note that no level of asbestos exposure is considered safe. Some patients are diagnosed who were never aware of their exposure in the first place.
Contact your doctor today if you know you have been exposed to asbestos in the past. Many employers still put their workers at risk for exposure in the workplace today, and you might be entitled to compensation if you develop an asbestos-related disease.