Here at About The House we are dedicated to safe asbestos removal and protecting families from the hidden health threats in their home, like the scary Mesothelioma.
Most of our clients already know that asbestos is dangerous but we often find ourselves answering more specific questions about exposure and what it can do exactly.
What Is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a group of minerals that used to be highly regarded for its durability, fire resistance and insulative properties. It is no longer mined in Australia and is illegal to import, sell or use asbestos containing materials. Stringent rules are in place to regulate safe asbestos testing, removal, handling and disposal.
When breathed in, asbestos fibres cause a type of cancer called Mesothelioma.
What Is Mesothelioma?
According to the Mesothelioma Centre website titled Asbestos.com, Mesothelioma is a malignant tumor that is caused by inhaled asbestos fibers and forms in the lining of the lungs, abdomen or heart.
How Does It Spread?
The organs in our bodies are surrounded by protective sacs called mesothelium – this is where the asbestos fibres cause malignant (cancerous) cells to develop.
Mesothelioma usually occurs in
- visceral pleura – area around the lungs
- Parietal pleura – area lining the chest
- Peritoneum – the lining of the abdomen and pelvis
Mesothelioma most often develops around the lungs and creates a tumour that grows across a lung until it is fully surrounded.
What Are the Symptoms:
Symptoms of mesothelioma begin once a tumour has developed and is encroaching on the chest or abdomen.
Common symptoms are
- Shortness of breath
- Dry cough
- Chest and/or abdomen pain
- Fluid on the lungs
How Is It Diagnosed
Doctors can often confuse mesothelioma with other more common conditions like lung cancer and stomach cancer. It is important to give the doctor a detailed medical history and occupational history if it involved exposure to asbestos.
Among physical examinations, blood tests and scans, doctors will perform a biopsy (tissue sample) and an analysis of fluid off the lungs.
How Is It Treated:
Treatment will depend on the type and stage (size and spread) of mesothelioma.
Procedures range from surgical removal of tumor and removal of fluid from the tumor with a needle, to chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Complementary and alternative therapies may be used alongside conventional treatment.
Who Is At Risk?
Asbestos is everywhere all around the world. In Australia, we have been mining it and using it in construction products for decades. Now, we have the second highest occurrences of mesothelioma in the world. While we are all exposed to it daily, those who have had higher exposure are most at risk of developing mesothelioma.
The average Australian diagnosed with Mesothelioma was:
- diagnosed in later life (75yrs)
- was predominantly exposed to asbestos in an occupational setting*
But a large amount of women have been diagnosed with the disease and a significant quantity were also exposed through non- occupational settings like changing brake pads, living in a house under renovation or even living with a person who worked with asbestos. Western Australia has the highest ratio of diagnosis – perhaps due to large scale asbestos mining in places like Wittenoom.
How Is Asbestos Regulated In Australia
Australia has laws to regulate the presence of asbesto and products containing asbestos. We have prohibited the mining and manufacturing, importing and use of asbestos completely. Where it already exists, Australia has strict guidelines for the safe removal, transport and disposal of asbestos products.
In most parts of the country, you are not required to have an asbestos removal licence to remove 10m2of non- friable asbestos. Larger amounts of asbestos (or any friable asbestos) must be safely demolished and managed by a fully licenced asbestos removal company. About The House are experienced at testing and safely decontaminating homes and businesses in Sydney, Central Coast and Newcastle suburbs. Whether your asbestos problem is small or requires a complete demolition we are ready to answer your questions, inspect, and remove today.
** While highly qualified to safely remove asbestos from Central Coast houses, we at About The House are not qualified to diagnose mesothelioma nor recommend treatments. We only offer information sourced from reputable websites. If you have been exposed to asbestos and are concerned for your health then find out more from our sources or contact a health professional.