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Topic: What is the Difference between Asbestosis and Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is an incurable asbestos-related cancer that affects the mesothelium, lining various areas of the body.
Asbestosis is a non-cancerous form of pulmonary fibrosis in which the lung tissue thickens and hardens over time due to permanent scarring of the alveoli.
Both of these conditions are caused by inhaling asbestos dust and fibres, but they present and affect the body in very different ways.
All asbestos-related diseases can take 10 to 50 years to develop, and symptoms can sometimes take longer to appear.
Mesothelioma is a very fast-acting disease since once the first signs of symptoms appear, a person’s health can deteriorate extremely quickly.
The early symptoms of mesothelioma can include:
Some people may also experience a change in the shape of their fingers and nails, known as “drumstick fingers.”
It can sometimes be difficult to diagnose Mesothelioma due to the early symptoms, as they can often be attributed to other lung or respiratory conditions. You must tell your doctor if he has ever been in contact with asbestos dust and fibres and inhaled it, as he should be able to determine the best course of action to find out what is wrong with you.
Unlike Mesothelioma, asbestosis is a very slow-paced respiratory disease, even for one type of pulmonary fibrosis.
While most of its symptoms may be similar to Mesothelioma, the early symptoms of asbestosis are much less noticeable and are often seen as signs of old age. These may include:
Constant and regular fatigue;
Shortness of breath due to minimal exertion, for example, when climbing stairs or walking the dog;
Hypertension, a long-term medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is consistently high.
Like Mesothelioma, asbestosis symptoms can take 10 to 50 years to appear. The severity of this disease can vary from person to person. Asbestosis usually progresses slowly and, in many cases, will remain stable for a long time.
It is estimated that in the UK, more than 90% of men with Mesothelioma and more than 80% of women with the disease have consciously come into contact with or been exposed to asbestos dust and fibres. We know that asbestos inhalation is the main cause of Mesothelioma.
Dr Robin Rudd, an expert in Mesothelioma and asbestos, said: “Mesothelioma can occur after a low level of asbestos exposure, and there is no threshold dose of asbestos below which there is no risk.
This means that inhaling a single asbestos fibre could cause Mesothelioma.
It was believed that only people who worked in trades in industry and construction could develop Mesothelioma, but in recent years this has not been the case. Due to the prevalence of asbestos in building materials across the UK, especially in schools, hospitals and other public buildings, teachers, nurses, and even former students have started to develop Mesothelioma, among other asbestos-related diseases.
As with all asbestos-related diseases, occupational asbestos exposure is the leading cause of asbestosis. Most asbestos cases in the UK and around the world are related to work in occupations where asbestos was used on an industrial scale, such as:
Asbestosis generally develops after several years of prolonged and high exposure to asbestos dust and fibres, usually 5 years or more. People who develop the disease recall working in large areas of asbestos dust for most of their working lives and often working with asbestos and asbestos-containing materials.
Inhaled asbestos fibres damage the lungs and cause scar tissue to develop, making it increasingly difficult to breathe.
In most cases, asbestosis develops after asbestos has built up in the lungs for many years. Asbestos fibres permanently damage the alveoli (air sacs that supply oxygen to the blood) in the lungs, limiting the amount of oxygen they can absorb.
If you or someone you know is diagnosed with Mesothelioma or asbestosis, there are several things you need to do.
The first thing to do should be to talk to your doctor and/or respiratory specialist and ask them how the disease will affect your life. They can also give you the best information about upcoming treatments or clinical trials that you can participate in.
Second, there is help and support for you. At the National Asbestos Helpline, They offer help and advice on managing your health, as well as directing you to the right support networks. We can also find out if there is any financial assistance you may be eligible for, such as compensation and/or government benefits. This could not just ease the burden that these life-changing illnesses bring, like having to make modifications to your home, like installing stairlifts or showers or having to hire help like gardeners or cleaners.
You should also try to think about your work history and where you have been exposed to asbestos. Typically this would be done in the course of your previous employment, and taking note of where you were regularly exposed would be essential if you were trying to get financial aid.
When does asbestosis turn into mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure usually takes 20 to 50 years to develop. It is very rare to have a latency period of less than 15 years, while the longest cases are around 60 to 70 years.
How long can you live with asbestosis?
The average life expectancy for asbestos-related lung cancer is 16.2 months. The prognosis for asbestos-related lung cancer is best determined by a lung cancer specialist. You may be able to improve your prognosis with treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy.
Is asbestosis a terminal illness?
There is no cure for asbestosis due to its similarity to pulmonary fibrosis and other chronic respiratory diseases. Asbestosis treatment options focus on reducing symptoms and improving breathing capacity.
Does asbestos cause mesothelioma?
Pleural mesothelioma occurs when asbestos fibers are inhaled and embedded in the protective lining of the lungs (pleura). Over time, asbestos fibers cause inflammation and scarring of the lining, which can lead to disease progression.
Can you survive asbestosis?
There is no cure for asbestosis because the damage to the lungs is irreversible. However, there are steps you can take to reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
How long can you live with Stage 4 mesothelioma?
The median survival rate for stage 4 mesothelioma is approximately 12 months with treatment. For patients with pleural mesothelioma, the stage 4 survival rate is approximately 14.9 months. In stage 4, the cancer is likely to continue to spread, which can lead to respiratory failure.
Has anyone survived mesothelioma?
The five-year survival rate for mesothelioma patients is approximately 12%. Approximately 40% of mesothelioma patients survive at least one year after diagnosis. The one-year survival rate is approximately 73% for pleural mesothelioma and 92% for peritoneal mesothelioma.
Can you get mesothelioma without being exposed to asbestos?
In rare cases, people develop mesothelioma without obvious asbestos exposure or erionitis. The cause in these cases is unknown (idiopathic or spontaneous mesothelioma). In such cases, people may have experienced unknown exposure to asbestos or erionite.
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