Asbestos Lung Cancer
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), many studies have shown that asbestos exposure, especially in the workplace, is correlated with a higher risk of lung cancer. The research shows that the greater the asbestos exposure, the greater the increased risk of lung cancer. Most cases of lung cancer in asbestos-exposed workers occur between 10 and 20 years after initial exposure. It's not clear in the ACS research how low-level or short-term asbestos exposure might correlate with asbestos lung cancer risk.
What is Asbestos Lung Cancer?
Asbestos lung cancer is defined by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) as “a malignant tumor that invades and obstructs the lung's air passages.” The most common symptoms of asbestos lung cancer include:
- unexplained weight loss
- coughing up blood
- labored breathing
Other symptoms of asbestos lung cancer include:
- shortness of breath
- persistent chest pain
If you have been exposed to asbestos and are experiencing these symptoms of asbestos lung cancer, consult a physician for advice as soon as possible.
Asbestos is a Carcinogen
Asbestos is classified as a known human carcinogen (a substance that causes cancer) by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
Studies conducted by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) show that exposure to asbestos increases the risk of many health problems including asbestos lung cancer, mesothelioma, other types of cancer, and noncancerous asbestos diseases. In addition to asbestos lung cancer and mesothelioma, the NCI notes that some studies suggest a potential link between asbestos poisoning and gastrointestinal and colorectal cancers, as well as an elevated risk for cancers of the throat, kidney, esophagus and gallbladder.
Asbestos exposure also leads to asbestosis - an inflammatory condition affecting the lungs that can cause shortness of breath, coughing, and permanent lung damage.
Smoking and Asbestos Lung Cancer
If you have been subject to long-term asbestos exposure and have been a cigarette smoker, your risk of developing asbestos lung cancer is significantly greater. In fact, according to the ACS, in workers exposed to asbestos who also smoke, the risk of developing lung cancer is much greater than the combined risk posed by adding together the separate exposures.
According to the NCI, quitting smoking can reduce the risk of lung cancer among asbestos-exposed workers.
If you have been exposed to asbestos in the workplace and have received a diagnosis of asbestos lung cancer or mesothelioma lung cancer, contact an asbestos attorney at Sokolove Law today.