Asbestos has achieved most of its notoriety as a cause of serious respiratory problems. Individuals exposed to asbestos over long periods commonly suffer from conditions such as asbestosis and mesothelioma of the lungs. However, this dangerous substance can also produce other health problems that receive less publicity.
Decades after the conclusion of your military career, you may have developed a chronic health condition stemming from service-related asbestos, even if it did not result in the usual lung cancer or scarring. Discover four less common kinds of asbestos-related diseases and disorders that you should know about.
1. Ovarian Cancer
Medical science has linked asbestos exposure to ovarian cancer. Asbestos fiber infiltration often occurs through inhaling contaminated talc in household products such as talcum powder. Manufacturers also include talc as an ingredient in spray paints, insulation, and other industrial products.
Women did not have to work next to asbestos-based substances or used talcum powder to develop ovarian cancer from asbestos exposure. The spouses and daughters of military officers, construction workers, or others who carry asbestos fibers on their clothes, hair, or skin may experience minor but meaningful indirect exposure.
Ovarian cancer may cause symptoms such as bloating, frequent urination, loss of appetite, and pelvic or abdominal pain, but early-stage ovarian cancer often causes no symptoms. Regular checkups can help identify a case of ovarian cancer early enough for successful treatment.
2. Laryngeal Cancer
Asbestos exposure increases your risk for cancer of the larynx (voice box). Research has shown that individuals exposed to airborne asbestos had, on average, a 40 percent higher chance of getting this form of cancer.
Smokers exposed to asbestos may have a greater risk for laryngeal cancer than non-smokers in the same situation. Researchers speculate that the inhaled asbestos fibers may interact with the throat irritation that smoked tobacco products already produced, making it harder for smokers to clear these fibers from their throats.
3. Pleural Conditions
Some asbestos-related problems affect the outer pleural lining and spaces enveloping the lungs without invading the lungs themselves. These changes may confine themselves to a thickening of the membranes in the form of pleural plaques. More seriously, scar tissue may accompany this thickening.
Some people exposed to asbestos may also develop a condition known as pleural effusion. In this problem, fluid accumulates in the spaces surrounding the lungs, potentially interfering with free inhalation and exhalation. Pleural effusion may also signal the development of pleural mesothelioma.
4. Peritoneal Conditions
Asbestos fibers may migrate to the abdominal cavity via the bloodstream or lymphatic system. When this occurs, they can cause diseases and disorders in this area. In one such disorder, fluid gathers in the lower abdominal cavity, a problem known as peritoneal effusion. This problem can cause discomfort and breathing difficulties.
More rarely, some people exposed to asbestos may develop a condition called retroperitoneal fibrosis or Ormond's disease. In this condition, excess fibrous tissue grows in the rear of the abdominal cavity, in the space between the intestines and the stomach. This overgrowth can reduce blood flow to the kidneys or legs.
While two-thirds of retroperitoneal fibrosis cases have no known cause, researchers have named asbestos as a significant risk factor. If you suffer from unexplained abdominal or back pain, reduced urine production, leg pain, or other distinctive symptoms, you may need to get checked for this condition.
The Veterans Asbestos Alliance can help you explore your legal options if asbestos exposure has led to any of these diseases or disorders. Contact our office today to request information and assistance. We look forward to helping you with your asbestos-related issues and concerns. Please let us know how we can help you today.