A 29-year-old Virginia firefighter was too ill to attend his own fundraiser last month. He is undergoing chemotherapy treatments for mesothelioma cancer, which doctors think resulted from asbestos exposure as a child. Normally, the deadly lung cancer strikes victims later in life after years of exposure to asbestos on the job. It can take up to 50 years for mesothelioma symptoms to manifest.
In this case, however, the victim received the diagnosis before the age of 30 – last February, just after beginning his career as a firefighter. He thought the initial cough would disappear in a few days, and then he started to have flu-like symptoms. An X-ray revealed a spot on his lungs followed by the mesothelioma diagnosis from his doctor. Patients and doctors often mistake mesothelioma symptoms for a much less serious condition.
Asbestos exposure is a common risk for firefighters when they enter burning buildings that contain asbestos. Firefighters carry appropriate respiratory equipment to protect themselves. Homes and buildings built before 1980 often contain asbestos because it used to be a popular building material in floors, ceilings, roofs, and insulation.
You should not ignore a persistent dry cough. While it might not always be mesothelioma, you should see a specialist to rule out the possibility.
Approved by attorney Peter DePaolis