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Curated Journal Articles on Mesothelioma

Asbestos-related lung disease

American Family Physician. 2007 Mar 1;75(5):683-8. [Link]

O’Reilly KM, Mclaughlin AM, Beckett WS, Sime PJ.

Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, United Kingdom. kateindub@yahoo.co.uk

Abstract

The inhalation of asbestos fibers may lead to a number of respiratory diseases, including lung cancer, asbestosis, pleural plaques, benign pleural effusion, and malignant mesothelioma. Although exposure is now regulated, patients continue to present with these diseases because of the long latent period between exposure and clinical disease. Presenting signs and symptoms tend to be nonspecific; thus, the occupational history helps guide clinical suspicion. High-risk populations include persons in construction trades, boilermakers, shipyard workers, railroad workers, and U.S. Navy veterans. Every effort should be made to minimize ongoing exposure. Patients with a history of significant asbestos exposure may warrant diagnostic testing and follow-up assessment, although it is unclear whether this improves outcomes. Patients with significant exposure and dyspnea should have chest radiography and spirometry. The prognosis depends on the specific disease entity. Asbestosis generally progresses slowly, whereas malignant mesothelioma has an extremely poor prognosis. The treatment of patients with asbestos exposure and lung cancer is identical to that of any patient with lung cancer. Because exposure to cigarette smoke increases the risk of developing lung cancer in patients with a history of asbestos exposure, smoking cessation is essential. Patients with asbestosis or lung cancer should receive influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations.

Keywords: asbestos, lung cancer, benign pleural disease, asbestosis, diffuse malignant mesothelioma

Also See:

In the same publication, on page 690: “Information from your family doctor. Asbestosis: what you should know.” (American Family Physician. 2007 Mar 1;75(5):690.)

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