A founding director of the Bernie Banton Foundation – Professor Bruce Robinson AM with a simple explanation of asbestos related diseases, explaining the differences between the various forms of non-cancerous and cancerous asbestos related diseases.
There are many asbestos related conditions that one can develop following exposure to asbestos fibres/dust. Some conditions can develop following relatively brief exposure, and other conditions can occur following moderate to high fibre/dust exposure. Importantly, not everyone who has been exposed to asbestos fibres/dust will develop an asbestos related disease.
If you have been exposed to, or think you may have been exposed to asbestos dust tell your medical practitioner. This is important, particularly if you have a shortness of breath or a sudden onset of shortness of breath, a persistent cough, ache or swelling in the chest, stomach or groin that cannot be explained by everyday ailments.
Failure to mention your history of asbestos dust/fibre exposure may mean the possibility of you having contracted an asbestos related disease is overlooked.
Asbestos on the lung?
It is important to be given a definitive diagnosis. Many people are either told, or believe they have a diagnosis or a condition called ‘asbestos on the lung‘ – the problem is there is no actual disease called ‘asbestos on the lung‘!
‘Asbestos on the lung‘ appears to be a very loose term either used by a doctor, or mistakenly fixated on by a patient, to describe anything from almost inconsequential slight scaring of either the lungs or the lining that surrounds the lungs, to the other extreme, describing the terminal cancer, malignant mesothelioma. It really is important to get a definitive diagnosis, and be told exactly which asbestos related disease you do have. Being told you have ‘asbestos on the lung‘ could mean very little, or it could mean heaps!
Who will give a diagnosis
As mentioned above it is important to get actual diagnosis, often this is harder than it may seem, due to many factors. People often put getting an actual diagnosis in the too hard basket, as I always said to people, “It doesn’t matter what you have, you need to get an actual diagnosis! After all how can you be treated if you don’t have a diagnosis? Do not at any stage accept it is too hard to be diagnosed – push the issue until you receive a conclusive diagnosis. Only then can you move forward, and commence the next stage of your journey – whatever that may entail.
If you have a switched on doctor (GP) who is conversant with asbestos related diseases you may be in luck. If not, just getting diagnosed could be quite arduous. it is important to have a clear pathway set up by your GP leading to a diagnosis. Normally it will involve having scans and being referred initially to either a respiratory, thoracic or gastroenterologist (abdomen) specialist – depending on your symptoms. Where possible, if asbestos is suspected of being involved, a specialist conversant with workplace dust diseases should be sought.
REMEMBER: When consulting your doctor, it is important to mention your history of asbestos exposure, otherwise the possibility of an asbestos related disease existing may be overlooked.
If you are suspected of having a form of malignant mesothelioma asbestos cancer you will find comprehensive information in the dedicated Mesothelioma section.
If you have been diagnosed with | Malignant Mesothelioma Cancer | Lung Cancer (where you have been exposed to asbestos fibres) | Asbestosis | Asbestos Related Pleural Diseases (ARPD) | Pleural Plagues | or another asbestos dust related disease/illness not listed, discuss Supportive Care Options, with your treating physician, hospital social worker and other relevant care givers. You may also you may be eligible to make a common law legal compensation claim and/or register with, and claim through the NSW Government’s icare Dust Diseases Care or another Federal, State or Territory based statutory body.
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Please read: The Bernie Banton website is not accredited to provide advice, the information provided is for assistance only. The information on this website is general information and should not be relied on in specific terms for individuals. If you have an asbestos fibre/dust caused condition, it is important that you obtain specific advice from your specialist simply because medical information that relates to one person may be completely different for another person, despite both suffering the same condition. In all cases you should consult your medical practitioner to guide you. The site Disclaimer can be read by clicking [here].