The Department of of Health and Human Services on Asbestos

It has been determined by the Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization that asbestos is a human carcinogen. Breathing asbestos strongly increases the potential of cancer in human beings. There are two forms of cancer derived from asbestos exposure: mesothelioma and lung cancer.

Mesothelioma is a strange form of cancer of the lining that surrounds the lungs (pleural membrane) or the abdominal cavity (the peritoneum). This kind of cancer does not develop immediately, on the contrary, its symptoms appear after some years. Not only does this disease affect the lungs, but it also can cause cancer in other parts of the body, for example, stomach, pancreas, kidneys, intestines and esophagus. The individual’s survival and quality of life depends on the early diagnostic and treatment of the disease.

Asbestos together with cigarette smoke increase the odds of suffering from lung cancer. If a person has been exposed to asbestos, it is vital to stop smoking. This action completely depends on the individual and it is the most important action to be taken.

There are medical tests to detect asbestos in the organism. It is possible to measure low levels of asbestos in urine, mucus, feces or lungs of the populace. But high levels of asbestos can represent exposure, though it cannot confirm whether or not the person will develop health problems. However, to assess the existence of asbestos-related diseases, thorough physical tests are compulsory. One of the most effective tools is x-ray since it can detect changes in the lungs caused by asbestos exposure.

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