Railroad workers have a long history of asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that is a fire retardant and insulation. Unfortunately, asbestos also led to mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer.
To receive timely medical intervention and to report a claim against the railroad industry, you need to know the signs of mesothelioma.
What is mesothelioma?
Asbestos was common in the railroad industry from the 1930s until the 1970s. This led to a higher rate of mesothelioma among railroad workers than in other sectors. Mesothelioma is aggressive and challenging to treat. The cancer affects the tissue surrounding the lungs and can make breathing difficult.
What symptoms can indicate mesothelioma?
One of the first signs associated with mesothelioma is a persistent cough. The cough may become more painful or accompany wheezing, shortness of breath and blood-tinged sputum. As the condition progresses, the chest pain may worsen and you may find it challenging to take deep breaths without coughing. The cancer attacks the thin lining around the lungs and can cause a pleural effusion, where fluid accumulates in the lungs. You may feel heaviness in your chest and a feeling of suffocation.
Those who have mesothelioma may also undergo sudden weight loss. The cancer affects your body’s metabolism and you may lose your appetite or can no longer keep food down easily. This can lead to severe weight loss with no explanation.
Generally, mesothelioma does not affect railroad workers for years following the exposure. You may work with asbestos in the 1970s but only have symptoms of the disease appear decades later.