asbestos-related_disease_indicators.doc

Onset of disease it can take up to 40 years or more

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Onset of disease It can take up to 40 years or more after initial asbestos exposure for disease caused by asbestos to become evident. Each asbestos-related disease differs in the extent of exposure to asbestos fibres and time between exposure and the onset of disease. > Benign pleural disease takes at least seven years to develop following exposure to asbestos fibres and is only evident on chest x-rays. It generally causes no symptoms and does not require any treatment other than cessation of smoking and regular check ups with a health professional (CCV 2010). > Asbestosis usually takes around 10 years or more to develop following heavy and prolonged exposure to asbestos (CCV 2010) before the disease advances to a stage where symptoms become apparent. Although it is a chronic rather than a fatal disease, it is a serious condition that can lead to death from other causes such as respiratory or cardiac failure. Ongoing medical treatment is necessary to maintain good quality of life and to reduce the burden it places on the body’s vital organs. People with asbestosis have a greater risk of developing lung cancer or mesothelioma than other people who have been exposed to asbestos fibres. > Lung cancer can take 20 years or more before the cancer develops and asbestos is only one of many agents linked to its development ( W orkers Health Centre 2010). It is reported to occur only following levels of exposure similar to those for asbestosis and is strongly associated with workplace exposure to asbestos fibres (Queensland Health 2002). It is much more likely to occur in people who smoke and/or who have asbestosis (CCV 2010). > Mesothelioma has the longest latency of any asbestos-related disease, usually taking between 20 and 40 years or more to develop. Symptoms of the disease usually only become evident when the disease has progressed to an advanced stage when treatment is ineffective and necessarily focussed at maintaining good quality of life for as long as possible. Further information Asbestos and lung disease - Cancer Council V ictoria <http://cancervic.org.au/ asbestos_and_lung_disease> accessed 26 February 2010. Asbestos-related Disease Indicators, August 2010 ... 2
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2 Mesothelioma The condition Mesothelioma is a fatal cancer of the mesothelium: the membrane lining that protects vital organs such as the lungs, heart and abdomen. The mesothelium is made up of two layers of membrane containing a lubricating fluid that allows the organs to move within the chest (for example, contraction and expansion of the lungs). The disease is strongly associated with asbestos and can usually be traced back to past exposure to asbestos fibres, particularly to amphibole (blue and brown) asbestos (Leigh & Driscoll 2002, and CCV 2010). Although the time between exposure to asbestos and the onset of mesothelioma is between 20 and 40 years or more, once the disease develops, it spreads very rapidly: generally, before symptoms become apparent, thus making its early diagnosis and treatment very difficult (NHMR C 201 0 an d CC V 2010) . Thi s rapid onset usually results in a survival period following diagnosis of only 6 to 18 months.
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