Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that strikes the lining of the heart, abdomen, and lungs. It is rare, but it absolutely can be fatal. It is often caused by exposure to asbestos. Given the nature of their jobs, men are more likely to develop mesothelioma than women. Construction work, military service, and ‘dirty jobs’ like plumbing, welding, demolition, and auto work can cause men to be exposed to asbestos on a regular basis and in large amounts. Thankfully, there are things men can do to cut down on their risks of contracting this debilitating disease. As such, here are three ways men can lower their mesothelioma risk.
Follow All Workplace Safety Regulations and Procedures
Workplace regulations should be adhered to at all times. After all, these regulations were designed with your safety in mind, presumably after rigorous testing. Don’t enter dangerous areas, listen to supervisors, and don’t take needless risks in the name of completing a job. While everyone should always follow all workplace safety regulations, this goes triple for men: Three times more men than women develop mesothelioma. This is likely related to the fact that men are more likely to work in hazardous working conditions that expose them to asbestos, such as in the construction, manufacturing and firefighting fields.
Wear The Right Type of Required Protective Gear
Wearing appropriate safety gear, such as breathing apparatuses, protective clothing, gloves, and goggles can ensure that you limit your risk of asbestos exposure. Always adhere to safety instructions and wear any protective gear that’s indicated—not just for mesothelioma prevention, but also to ensure that you minimize your general risk of injury and exposure to deadly toxins. Furthermore, make sure to clean and maintain your gear appropriately. After all, your gear is only good if you ensure it is always in working order. Remember, while breathing it in is the most likely way for asbestos to get into the body, it’s not the only way. It is also possible to ingest asbestos fibers that are invisible to the naked eye.
That’s why wearing protective gear and following workplace instructions is so important for ensuring that you keep asbestos out of your body. Additionally, make sure that the protective gear you wear is rated for asbestos protection. There is gear available that can protect against dust or mold but not asbestos. If there is even the slightest possibility that asbestos is present in the environment you are working in, make sure that you are wearing the appropriate gear.
Seek Medical Attention if You Think You’ve Ever Encountered Asbestos
Asbestos exposure can lead to a host of illnesses, including lung cancer and asbestosis. One exposure is generally safe, but repeated exposure can lead to major health problems. If you believe you’ve been exposed to asbestos, seek medical attention immediately. There are a variety of potential symptoms of asbestos exposure, including difficulty breathing, a short, dry cough, chest pain and clubbing of your fingertips and toes. Clubbing means that the digits appear shorter and wider than normal.
Mesothelioma is painful and deadly. But, it is often avoidable and treatable, particularly if you can get an early diagnosis. Follow these three tips, and you will dramatically decrease your odds of being diagnosed with mesothelioma or surviving if you do get it.