Survivors Book

Draftsmen - Mesothelioma Risks

In addition to architects, draftsmen - or drafters as they are sometimes called - are very important to the building and construction process. Often, they are on-site for long periods of time, analyzing existing structures and taking notes to conceptualize future plans. Draftsmen may also be present for the majority of the building process, overseeing plans and being there for consulting purposes. In the latter part of the 1800s and all the way through the 1970s, draftsmen were commonly found at mining sites, helping to design mine shafts and better ways to make miners safer in their dangerous jobs. Being around these sites was dangerous for draftsmen, and may still have lasting affects for those who are still alive today. The reason is the mineral asbestos. Asbestos was commonly found at mining and other construction sites, the fibers hanging in the air at all times and constantly being inhaled by everyone who worked there. Asbestos is also the cause of a rare, aggressive cancer known as mesothelioma.

Draftsmen are especially at risk for mesothelioma because they were most likely exposed many times over a period of time when asbestos use at the sites they frequented was especially high. Although there was a known link between asbestos and lung and respiratory problems, the asbestos companies neglected to release the information, hiding it from the public instead, and putting millions at risk for its harmful effects.

Asbestos is a carcinogen and has many of the same effects of smoking. Asbestos fibers can be easily inhaled, and instead of being exhaled, they become trapped in the lining of the chest cavity, the lining that surrounds the lungs, called the mesothelium. For years these fibers build up and ravage the mesothelium, forming scar tissue, inflammation and irritation, and fluid buildup that puts pressure on the lungs. Someone can have these symptoms for years, and may never know asbestos is the cause. Nor do they know that mesothelioma is the result. The harmful toxins in these asbestos fibers are what cause the cancer to form; a mesothelioma tumor usually starts within the mesothelium, and can spread to the lungs, abdominal cavity, and the lining of the heart.

All too often, the symptoms and signs of mesothelioma are not noticeable until the latter stages of the cancer, when it has spread throughout the body. Symptoms may include heavy breathing, night sweats, weight loss, and a chest cough. These are symptoms often associated with many other diseases and illnesses, so the mesothelioma may go undiagnosed for years, left to spread throughout the body until it may be too late. Even a very experienced doctor can overlook the signs of mesothelioma, because it is so rare.

Men and women employed as draftsmen in the past and even today are at a high risk for mesothelioma and other forms of asbestos-related diseases. It is important to have regular visits with a physician who can monitor your health for asbestos related diseases and mesothelioma. If mesothelioma is found early on in its development, treatments can be much more effective, meaning a longer life for the patient. Typically, mesothelioma patients do not live more than three years following diagnosis, because they are diagnosed at such a late stage. Education and constant monitoring can make a drastic difference in the health and welfare of an at-risk mesothelioma patient.


Workers at Risk for Asbestos Exposure

Below are a list of occupations and trades that were at risk for asbestos exposure:

Last Edited: Sun July 26, 2020