What Is The Link Between Asbestos And Mesothelioma?

by Terry Bryant

The link between asbestos and mesothelioma is conclusive, so much so, doctors consider the presence of the cancer to be a “sentinel” tumor, or a strong sign that a person has been exposed to the material even if the patient is unaware of it.  Researchers who have studied thousands of case histories have asserted that working around the material is the biggest risk factor, so professionals that work around building infrastructure, vehicles, ships, or aircraft should make sure they are regularly screened for the disease.

Many drilling rig workers in the oil and gas industry, both onshore and offshore, have been exposed to toxic asbestos-related illnesses from exposure to drilling mud products. Anyone who comes in contact with asbestos is at risk of developing mesothelioma, but those who worked in the oil industry with asbestos drilling mud are especially at risk.  Many drilling mud additives used on oil rigs and oil fields contained extremely high levels of asbestos.  One of the most deadly additives used in drilling mud was known as Flosal, a white fibrous powder that exposed all members of the crew.

Oil field workers are not the only victims of asbestos exposure. Construction workers, electricians, miners, and shipyard workers are just to name a few of workers exposed to asbestos.

This cancer affects protective tissues that line many organs in the body, though it is most commonly found around the lungs, heart, or abdominal cavity. Asbestos exposure leading to mesothelioma may take years to develop, presenting with nonspecific symptoms that are often mistaken for respiratory infections.  A cough, fatigue, chest, or abdominal pain, shortness of breath, weight loss, and coughing up blood are all signs that the cancer may be present.  However, before a doctor can confirm the diagnosis, chest x-rays, CT, or MRI scans and a biopsy may all need to be performed.  Once the diagnosis is confirmed, the patient usually doesn’t have long to live, although there have been a few cases of patients surviving for several years.  Unfortunately, in most cases the disease is fatal within months.

Anyone exposed to asbestos and diagnosed with this dreadful disease should consider consulting with a personal injury attorney to explore their options.  Any compensation received in a successful claim can be used to pay expensive medical bills, or keep the family financially secure if the victim needs to miss work or passes away.