If you recently passed your 50th birthday or are quite a way beyond it already, you've likely noticed that your body doesn't function exactly the same as it did when you were 20. Once people hit mid-life, they often start to notice little aches and pains or impediments in physical mobility and cognitive processes as well. If you spent a large portion of your life working in an Illinois factory or some other environment where asbestos was present, your later years may also be marked by some adverse health symptoms.
Mesothelioma is an asbestos-related cancer that typically takes years to fully develop to its advanced stages in the body. You may start feeling very fatigued or have chest pain and other respiratory discomfort, or you may have a lingering, nagging cough that just never seems to fully go away. These symptoms may be signs of serious illness and definitely warrant further medical examination. If a doctor diagnoses mesothelioma, it's critical that you know how to access support.
Tests that lead to diagnosis
It's highly doubtful that a doctor can diagnose mesothelioma or another asbestos illness through a brief office examination. If, however, your doctor recognizes certain potential signs of illness, he or she may order further testing that includes one of the following types of biopsy:
- A thoracotomy is an operation where your surgeon will open your chest between your ribs in order to extract a tissue sample.
- Your doctor may decide to do a fine needle aspiration to draw fluid out of your abdomen or chest. Your physician may also use this type of biopsy to take a tissue sample from the same regions.
- A laparoscopy involves inserting a tiny camera into your abdomen after your surgeon makes incisions, then uses the camera to guide his or her way in order to take a tissue sample.
Various factors influence which type of biopsy your doctor determines best in your particular situation. It often has to do with the location of the suspected disease. Depending on your specific diagnosis, meaning, what kind of mesothelioma you have, your medical team can help you execute a treatment plan.
All treatment is palliative
The treatment you receive can help alleviate pain and discomfort and can also help you achieve as high a quality of life as possible given your circumstances. It's not uncommon for feelings of anger and frustration to set in when you think that corporate officials may have been more concerned with power and profit than keeping factory workers safe.
Support resources available
Living with an incurable disease like mesothelioma is challenging in many ways. It can also place financial hardship on your family. Talking to others who have gone through similar experiences and also those who understand the asbestos litigation process may help you cope with your disease and seek as full a recovery as possible.