If you’re looking for another reason to be grateful for the technology that you have now, it’s the availability of the new information that researchers are providing the public. In the field of medicine, these researchers are the ones responsible for educating everyone on the benefits of the natural products their surroundings are abundant with.
The results of the ceaseless research that the medical experts do is just as fruitful as what you would expect. However, not all of their findings are about the discovery of a nutrient-rich ingredient or a disease-fighting component. They also discover harmful materials or chemicals once thought to be harmless. An example of this is asbestos, which is a naturally-occurring and commonly-used mineral that can put your health at risk by making you more prone to certain types of cancer.
Asbestos and How it can Lead to Cancer
Asbestos is typically found in construction materials. Its resistance to heat and chemical damage makes it an ideal compound to include in the building of a structure’s floors, walls, shingles, and even automobile’s brakes and clutch. While asbestos is already banned in many countries, the United States and Russia are yet to eradicate the production of it. This puts the workforce in the construction industry prone to being exposed to this silent killer.
But what types of diseases do you risk having when you allow yourself to be exposed to asbestos? Read on to find out.
Mesothelioma is a rare but incurable type of cancer. Most people who have it have been exposed to asbestos at some point in their lives. The symptoms of mesothelioma will not be apparent to the person right away. Thus, the best way to prevent mesothelioma is to avoid asbestos as much as possible. However, if you or you know someone who’s been exposed to asbestos, you should watch out for signs like difficulty breathing, chest pain, sudden weight loss, nausea, vomiting, and having an unusual lump or lumps on your chest tissue.
- Lung Cancer
There are several causes of lung cancer, but smokers who are chronically exposed to asbestos increases your chance of getting it. Tobacco use and asbestos exposure is a dangerous combination as the chemicals in cigarettes or tobacco irritate your lungs. This makes asbestos harder to expel from your body.
- Laryngeal Cancer
Almost any substance that goes to your lungs usually passes by the larynx (or voice box) first. And just like the lungs, the fibers of asbestos may lodge in your larynx. Once it does, your chances of getting cancer caused by long-term exposure to asbestos are increased. Especially when you combine it with smoking and alcohol consumption.
- Pharyngeal Cancer
Pharyngeal cancer or cancer of the windpipe is also a common type of cancer that’s associated with asbestos exposure. Because air passes through a person’s pharynx, continuous exposure to the asbestos fibers may make you inhale or swallow it without you even noticing. Once a considerable amount of asbestos is accumulated in your pharynx, your chances of getting pharyngeal cancer are increased.
Minimizing Your Chance of Developing Asbestos-Related Diseases
There’s yet to be a worldwide ban on using asbestos as a component in everyday things that people use. But the easiest way of preventing yourself from the exposure of it is by finding out which common objects and buildings have asbestos in it. If you’re not certain about your surroundings, and whether or not it’s made with asbestos as a part of the item’s component, do not be afraid to ask the manufacturers about it.
Hundreds of companies in the construction industry are now switching to safer and non-toxic alternatives to what they put in their materials. You should never hesitate to ask for a safer building material option if your wellbeing is on the line.
Until asbestos is no longer produced by the building companies and its other producers, there’s no certain way of completely eliminating it from the environment. You can, however, take small but significant measures to prevent you and your loved ones from being exposed to it. One of them is becoming aware of what materials your house is made of and if it’s made with asbestos in it.
If you, a relative, or a friend is experiencing symptoms of asbestos-related diseases, you must have them be checked by a physician right away. To the people who work in environments where asbestos is present, wear protective gear like a pair of goggles and a respirator mask. Don’t forget to regularly schedule an appointment with your doctor–with or without symptoms.