Hi, around 36 years ago I worked for a few months in a construction material factory that used asbestos. My questions are: 1) All people exposed to asbestos will develop asbestosis or mesothelioma? 2)What is the risk of somebody exposed to asbestos of developing mesothelioma? 3) Some people say that mesothelioma is very rear, is that true? 4) I'm now 60 years old, exercise regularly and skiing is my favor sport. I never felt any shortness of breath and the doctors always find my lungs clean during checkups. Should I still be worry? 5)Is mesothelioma an illness that appears suddenly or product of a progressive degeneration of the lungs functions? Thanks.
Most individuals with either an intense or prolonged exposure to asbestos will develop some degree of asbestosis. That means that they will have some asbestos fibers in their lungs permanently. Most of these will not develop clinically significant asbestosis and a small minority of these will develop a mesothelioma. There is a greater chance of this if one is a heavy smoker. Both asbestos and the growth of a mesothelioma are progressive diseases, which occur very slowly and over decades.
Significant asbestos or a mesothelioma will show up on a chest X-ray. You should probably have a chest X-ray yearly for a couple years and then probably every 2 years.
The fact that you can exercise vigorously strongly suggests that your lung function has not been reduced by your exposure.
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