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2013-01-24 digital edition

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2013-01-24 / Sports

Alcoa Workers Should Resolve to Get a Chest X-ray

With the new year, many people re-dedicate themselves to a healthy lifestyle. If you are one of these people, you may have decided to exercise more or make healthier food choices.

But, if you are a current or former Alcoa worker, one of the most important health decisions you could make is to see your doctor, tell him that you worked around asbestos and coal tar pitch, then get a chest X-ray.

Then resolve to do that at least once a year.

“In our talks, we’ve discovered that most of the people who worked around asbestos either don’t know how important it is to get a chest X-ray every year or choose to ignore it,” said Richard Dodd, a senior attorney with Cappolino | Dodd | Krebs in Cameron, a law firm that focuses on asbestos exposure cases. “People who have been exposed to asbestos are at risk for some pretty aggressive cancers. Leading authorities say that early detection is the only way to be protected.”

Dr. Roy Smythe, chairman of the department of surgery for Scott & White in Temple, is considered to be one of the nation’s leading experts on mesothelioma, the cancer most linked to asbestos exposure. He has said that the only way to truly curb the devastating effects of mesothelioma is to catch it early.

“I’ve seen hundreds of patients with [mesothelioma cancer] in my career and I’ve seen less than five with Stage I,” he said, adding that symptoms of mesothelioma can take 20-50 years to present and, even then, are often mistaken for other ailments.

“If you are diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, or a gastrointestinal cancer like throat, stomach or colon cancer, you probably have grounds for a claim, even if you had an earlier claim for asbestosis or other non-malignant, asbestos-related disease,” said Dodd. “An annual chest X-ray, regular checkups and a doctor who has good information are your first lines of defense against this cancer.”

More information about the cancers linked to coal tar pitch and asbestos exposure can be found on the firm’s website, www.AsbestosLaw.com.

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