Disease symptoms sometimes develop slowly. Mesothelioma patients may not feel sick, for 20 or even 50 years after inhaling cancer-causing asbestos fibers. Many Pennsylvania victims unknowingly suffered damage from dangerous jobs they held decades ago, when asbestos was widely used in U.S. manufacturing and construction.
The harm done in the past is evident today with diagnoses of asbestos-related diseases, including life-threatening mesothelioma. To complicate matters, quickly diagnosing the rare cancer isn't easy. Symptoms can be similar to other medical conditions: dry cough, weight loss, breathing difficulties and chest pain, among others.