Occupational cancers, including both asbestos-related lung cancers and mesothelioma, usually result from exposure to asbestos. Asbestos exposure, usually at work, may cause several types of cancer that affect the respiratory system, among other types of malignancies.
Even long after exposure to asbestos fibers ends, people who experienced exposure have a high incidence of death from mesothelioma, small cell lung cancer, other lung cancers. Researchers from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry also noted a high incidence of disability in people suffering from other asbestos-related diseases.
Asbestos Exposure Increases the Risk for Several Types of Cancer
Exposure to asbestos may cause or contribute to the development of several types of cancer, including asbestos-related lung cancer and malignant pleural mesothelioma.
Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer
According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, between 4% and 12% of all lung cancers occur because of asbestos exposure. Between one in four and one in five workers who experienced heavy exposure will develop some type of lung cancer or other malignancy affecting the respiratory system.
Research links occupational levels of asbestos exposure to all types of carcinoma affecting the lungs, including:
- Squamous cell carcinoma
- Small cell lung cancer
If you have a history of occupational asbestos exposure, your exposure may have contributed to any of these types of cancers caused by asbestos.
Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma
Malignant pleural mesothelioma leads when it comes to cancer caused by asbestos exposure, according to the Dec. 2013 edition of The Journal of Thoracic Disease. This cancer usually affects the thin lining of the chest cavity and lungs, known as the pleura. Mesothelioma is rare, except among those exposed to asbestos. The majority of people with this diagnosis have a known history of asbestos exposure.
Other Types of Cancer Caused by Asbestos
Research links asbestos exposure with causing cancer of the larynx (voice box) and ovaries, in addition to lung cancer and mesothelioma. This may include cancers of the stomach, pharynx (throat), and colorectum.
Some People Have a Greater Risk for Asbestos-Related Cancer Than Others
Even when two people have similar exposures to asbestos, they may have a different risk of developing related cancers. Several factors play into whether or not inhaling these fibers leads to a malignancy, including:
- How much asbestos remains in the body.
- How long the person breathed in asbestos fibers.
- The type of asbestos fibers remaining in the lungs.
- The source of their exposure.
- Whether or not they also smoke.
- Whether or not they have asbestosis or another lung condition.
- Genetic factors.
People struggle to determine their risk of developing asbestos-related cancer. Your doctor can help you understand how your exposure, health, and lifestyle factors may play a role. They may also recommend regular screenings and other tests to monitor your pulmonary health. While lung cancer occurs in less than a quarter of people with known asbestos exposure, other related medical conditions, such as asbestosis, can occur as well.
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Smoking Significantly Increases Your Risk of Asbestos Lung Cancer
Smoking will greatly increase your risk of developing asbestos-related lung cancer. Those who have a history of heavy asbestos exposure and also continue to smoke have a much greater chance of receiving a lung cancer diagnosis than any other population, according to a study in the medical journal PloS One. This risk is greater than the individual risks of each of these factors added together.
Quitting smoking as soon as possible may reduce the risk of lung cancer if you have a history of asbestos exposure. We suggest you take action to reduce your risk immediately.
Discuss Your Case With Our Team
If you have a history of asbestos exposure and now have a related cancer, you may be eligible to join thousands of others in the asbestos mass tort. Reach out to the team from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today for a free case review. Our asbestos cancer attorneys can explain the merit of your case and may be able to pursue a settlement or award on your behalf.
With our team on your side, you will pay nothing out of pocket or up-front. We will only receive attorney’s fees if we secure financial awards in your favor. Call (800) 794-0444 now to discuss your asbestos exposure case with a member of our team.