Although lung cancer can produce a wide range of symptoms and most patients display at least some of them, some patients with lung cancer have no symptoms. Their illness may be detected when they undergo a CT scan for an unrelated reason. At that point, the cancer may already be at an advanced stage that can make treatment difficult.
How Common Lung Cancer Is
According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, more than 200,000 adults in the U.S. are diagnosed with lung cancer annually. Although the numbers of people being diagnosed and dying of lung cancer fell in recent years, lung cancer remains the second-most-common form of cancer and the one responsible for the highest number of deaths.
Possible Symptoms of Lung Cancer
Non-small cell lung cancer starts in epithelial cells that line the airways and produce mucus, while small cell lung cancer originates in nerve cells or in cells that produce hormones. Both forms of lung cancer may cause symptoms such as:
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Chest pain
- Coughing up phlegm, mucus, or blood
Small cell lung cancer may also cause swelling of the face or neck.
If a tumor in a lung sheds cancerous cells, those cells can be carried to other parts of the body via the bloodstream or lymph nodes. That can allow the cancer to metastasize and affect other organs and bones. If lung cancer has metastasized, it may produce symptoms such as headache; weakness; seizures; bone, abdominal, or back pain; and difficulty breathing or speaking. Patients with lung cancer may have none of these symptoms.
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Causes of Lung Cancer
Although smoking is a common source of lung cancer, many people who are diagnosed with the disease quit smoking years ago or never smoked in the first place. Lung cancer can also be caused by exposure to carcinogens such as asbestos and radon. Often, people were unknowingly exposed to those substances over a significant period of time and received a diagnosis of lung cancer years or decades later.
Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring fibers that are strong and fire-resistant. Asbestos was mined and used around the world in construction materials, vehicle parts, fireproof blankets, and household products, such as appliances, cigarette filters, and holiday decorations. The Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry reports that asbestos can cause several forms of lung cancer, including adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and small cell carcinoma.
It can also cause mesothelioma, a form of cancer that most commonly affects the lining around the lungs. People who are exposed to a large quantity of asbestos in a short period of time or who are exposed to asbestos at moderate levels over a long period of time are more likely to later develop cancer than individuals with more limited exposure.
In many cases, employers failed to give their workers equipment to protect them from asbestos and employees developed cancer decades later. Some workers also brought asbestos fibers home on their bodies and clothing, and their family members, exposed to the carcinogen, later became ill. In addition, numerous companies continued to manufacture and sell products that contained asbestos to the general public after they became aware of the harm it could cause.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people can also develop lung cancer after being exposed to radon, a radioactive gas that is formed when uranium and other elements break down naturally in rocks, soil, and water. Individuals who live and work in the lower levels of buildings may be unknowingly exposed on a regular basis and may develop lung cancer years later. Building owners and landlords often fail to test for radon, even though testing is simple and inexpensive.
Getting Legal Help
If you developed lung cancer and you believe it was due to asbestos or radon exposure, Pintas & Mullins Law Firm may be able to help you pursue financial compensation for your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. We help people all over the United States who suffer personal injuries because of the actions or negligence of others. Victims should not have to suffer further damage. The party or parties responsible for your injuries should pay for any necessary treatment, not you.
If you came into contact with asbestos at work or through a product you used, or if the building where you lived or worked had dangerous levels of radon, we may be able to file an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit to seek a financial award. If you are unsure when and how you may have suffered exposure to a carcinogen, our team can investigate to pinpoint the likely source of your cancer.
Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to Seek Justice
In our work with clients who developed cancer from asbestos exposure, we compiled a database with information on companies and products that used the substance. That can help us figure out how a client who has lung cancer may have suffered exposure to asbestos decades earlier.
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm works on a contingency fee basis. That means that if you hire us to represent you, you will not have to pay us anything up front. We only receive payment if we obtain a financial award for a client. Call our office at (800) 794-0444 to discuss your legal options with a member of our staff during a free consultation.