Many people do not visit a doctor unless they are experiencing symptoms of some ailment. This can be a good strategy in many instances. However, those who may have an increased risk of developing cancer may consider scheduling more regular check-ups.
Asbestos exposure has been linked to aggressive forms of cancer, such as mesothelioma. People who have potentially inhaled asbestos fibers at work or at home may have a higher than average risk of developing mesothelioma or other cancers. However, mesothelioma often does not develop until decades after someone inhaled asbestos fibers.
Why do cancer screenings matter?
The delay in symptoms causes many people to assume that they are in the clear. Someone who may still be at risk of developing an asbestos-related condition may neglect to tell his doctor about his history of asbestos exposure or may wait to visit their doctor until symptoms develop.
A delay in diagnosis may limit someone’s treatment options. A misdiagnosis could further delay the start of appropriate treatment. However, regular screenings could help doctors detect cancer as soon as possible. When detected early, there may be more treatment options available.
What kinds of tests do doctors recommend?
Some doctors recommend that people with known asbestos exposure receive regular imaging tests. This type of test includes chest x-rays and computed tomography (CT) scans, among others.
Imaging tests can help doctors look for changes in the lungs that could be cancer. This type of test may be able to find cancer in its early stages when someone may not yet experience any symptoms.
In many cases, a doctor will suggest a combination of tests to get a more complete understanding of what is happening in someone’s body. Another type of cancer screening involves blood tests. With this type of test, doctors assess the levels of certain substances in the blood. High levels of certain substances could indicate that someone has mesothelioma.
Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be terrifying, and the thought of such a diagnosis prevents many people from seeking appropriate screenings. However, cancer screenings can be a helpful tool for those who have been exposed to asbestos. Cancer screenings do not prevent mesothelioma, but receiving regular screenings can help people stay on top of their health and react quickly to any potential health problems that develop.