Signs and Symptoms of Asbestos Cancer
The warning signs below are examples of common symptoms and should not be viewed as medical advice. If you are suffering from any type of medical symptom that you suspect could indicate asbestos cancer then seek urgent advice from your GP.
Universal Symptoms of Cancer
There are many forms of cancer, and each has its own unique set of warning signs and symptoms. However, some symptoms are found in nearly all cancers, and can be viewed as early warning signs:
- Fatigue and tiredness: Fatigue is a commonly reported symptom of asbestos cancer..
- Unintentional weight loss: Any unexplained weight loss over 10 pounds should be checked over with your doctor.
- Pain – especially in the lower back and stomach
- Bowel problems
- A Cough that will not clear
These symptoms alone are very ‘vague’ and could easily indicate other, more minor illnesses. If you have been exposed to asbestos and experience two or more of these symptoms in combination, it is advisable to talk with a GP.
Asbestos lung cancer symptoms
Common symptoms of lung cancer are:
- Persistent cough
- Shortness of breath
- Coughing up phlegm (sputum) with blood in it
- Aches or pains when you breathe or cough
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
Signs of advanced lung cancer
- A hoarse voice
- Trouble swallowing
- Swelling in the face or neck
- Pain or under the ribs on your right side
- Fluid around the lungs (called pleural effusion)
Risk factors for asbestos cancer
Having worked with asbestos as part of your job remains the biggest cause of asbestos cancer.
New research has shown that other people can be at risk from secondary asbestos exposure. These include family members of people who work with asbestos, people who work in buildings with high amounts of asbestos and residents near to asbestos factories.
Smoking increases your vulnerability to asbestos cancer. Stopping smoking can improve the lifespan and recovery rates of people suffering from asbestos related illnesses.
What is the prognosis for asbestos related cancer?
Recovery from asbestos cancer depends on how early the tumour is detected and how large it has grown. As with any cancer, early detection can improve the chance of a full recovery.
The location of the tumour can have a dramatic affect on survival rates. Cancers in the nose and throat generally have higher survival rates than asbestos cancer in the lungs. Lung cancer of any kind is amongst the most difficult to treat, and asbestos lung cancer is particularly treatment resistant.
The prognosis for sufferers of asbestos related cancer is poor. Around 75-85% of people diagnosed with an asbestos lung cancer will die from their illness. Modern treatments have been successful in reducing pain and increasing the life span of people with asbestos cancer but few will go into remission or be cured.