If there is one thing that is known about asbestos, it is that it is carcinogenic. Someone who inhales or swallows it could end up developing serious illnesses such as lung cancer or mesothelioma years down the line.
Most people realize that they should get help if they’re having symptoms of exposure, such as difficulty breathing, but what can you do if you know you’ve been exposed and want to prevent symptoms in the future?
Talk to your doctor right away
The first thing you need to do is talk to your doctor. Let your doctor know that you think you’ve been exposed to asbestos at work and that you would like to determine if you’re at risk of an asbestos-related disease. You may be able to have some testing done right away, or your doctor could make notes to help identify any disease development in the future.
Fortunately for many, a single exposure to asbestos is unlikely to lead to any injuries in the future. However, repeated exposures could. That’s why documenting the exposure you have is important, especially if you’ll want to make a workers’ compensation case in the future.
You may not know you’re developing a disease for years
With asbestos exposure, the trouble is that you may not know that you’ve started developing a disease for many years. You may not have symptoms for 10 to 40 years, so you could think you’re fine but develop significant symptoms later.
Letting your doctor know about the exposure when it happens helps, because they can do testing over time in an attempt to catch the disease when it first starts and you have more options for treatment.
Any time symptoms arise, you should go through testing to get a firm diagnosis.
There are options for those who have been exposed to asbestos. While the diseases exposure causes won’t necessarily be curable, you can treat them and improve your quality of life. It’s valuable to talk to your employer and doctor about any exposure that has occurred to document it, and then remember to look into making a claim if you later develop lung cancer, mesothelioma, asbestosis or other related illnesses.