Currently, there is no way to reverse exposure to asbestos. The majority of asbestos-related conditions, such as cancers associated with the material, asbestosis, and pleural plaques, are either irreversible, deadly, or both although some treatment options are available.
Treatments for Asbestos Exposure
Although the exposure is not reversible, there are some things employers should provide when they know you’ve been exposed to asbestos. They should encourage you to wear protective gear whenever you are around asbestos. A physician should examine you for asbestos-related diseases regularly, and you should have regular cancer screenings. These examinations should include x-rays and lung function tests to search for early signs of these diseases. You should not do anything that will further damage your lungs, such as smoke or vape.
Cancers like mesothelioma are related to asbestos exposure. If a physician finds a tumor, they do a biopsy. This means they take a small piece of the tumor and check to see if it is malignant (cancer) or benign (not cancer.) They will also check to see what type of tumor it is. If it is cancerous, they follow the standard treatments for cancers. This may include removal surgery when possible, chemotherapy, proton therapy, radiation therapy, and complementary treatments such as acupuncture or meditation.
Treatments for Asbestosis
Asbestosis is scarring on the lungs from asbestos exposure. Although it cannot be cured, some treatments will make you more comfortable. You should eliminate your contact with asbestos when you are diagnosed. Any chest infection needs to be treated immediately and aggressively through antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and other breathing medications. You can also engage in respiratory and pulmonary therapies as they are needed.
Treatments for Pleural Plaques
Although pleural plaques are traditionally benign, they can cause breathing difficulties, chronic infections, and other issues. It may also be a sign of new or worsening cancer. It is also a source of severe chest pain. The only thing that can be done for these issues is monitoring and pain management.
Pleural effusion is a fluid build up in and around the lungs. In most cases, treatment includes management and monitoring through the use of diuretics and other medications. A doctor or surgeon may have to pull or drain the fluid from your lungs physically in more severe cases.
Asbestos exposure is extremely dangerous and often deadly. You should seek medical attention if you know you’ve been exposed. There are many asbestos-related programs available to help you with the costs associated with asbestos-related conditions. Be sure to take advantage of them.