Inhaling asbestos fibers in large quantities, as workers who regularly handled asbestos did in the years before companies had to protect them, can lead to many types of cancer. In particular, asbestos can cause cancer of the lungs, the pleural lining of the chest cavity, and other areas of the respiratory system, according to the National Cancer Institute.
People with known asbestos exposure may need to monitor their health and report any new symptoms to their doctor. Asbestos-related cancers are often aggressive and can be deadly. Discussing your risk with your doctor and monitoring your own lung health closely offers you the best chance at identifying a serious health concern or cancer quickly.
Asbestos Exposure Causes Mesothelioma
Asbestos causes mesothelioma. While relatively rare, this cancer that grows in the membranes lining the lungs and other organs is almost always caused by asbestos. There is no other known cause of the disease. Pleural mesothelioma, affecting the pleural lining of the lungs and chest cavity, is the most common type. This cancer can also affect the lining of the abdomen, heart, ovaries, and testicles.
Asbestos-related cancerous tumors can occur not only on the lining of the lungs, but also in the lung tissue itself. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, between 4 and 12 percent of all lung cancers occur because of occupational exposure to this deadly material. Cancers asbestos causes also include all types of lung cancer growths, such as:
- Small cell lung cancer
- Non-small cell lung cancers
- Squamous cell carcinoma
The American Cancer Society states that there is also strong evidence to show that asbestos exposure can cause or contribute to cancers of the larynx and ovaries.
Asbestos Cancers Are Often Aggressive and Deadly
Unfortunately, most people are only diagnosed with asbestos-related cancer only after it spreads throughout the chest cavity, to other organs, or to distant areas of the body. Because mesothelioma and lung cancers generally do not show symptoms in their initial stages, it is very difficult to diagnose them early.
When cancer reaches an advanced stage before diagnosis, there is likely no option to surgically remove the cancerous tissue. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are usually the first treatment options, but they will not generally cure advanced-stage cancer. Asbestos-related cancers are often rapidly advancing at the time of diagnosis and may be deadly within a year.
Some physicians and researchers recommend that people with certain risk factors undergo routine screenings each year. This includes those:
- Over age 55
- In otherwise good health
- Who smoke or previously smoked
- With a known history of asbestos or radon exposure
The American Cancer Society considers routine screenings to include low-dose computerized tomography (LDCT) and pulmonary function tests, among others. Tests like these can help spot lung cancers sooner.
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Asbestos Cancers Can Support a Claim for Compensation
To recover a settlement or award in the asbestos mass tort, you will need to provide evidence to show your asbestos exposure caused or contributed to the development of your cancer. In many cases, a biopsy of lung or surrounding tissue shows asbestos fibers, and this is enough to link your cancer to the dangerous material.
In other cases, though, it is more difficult to prove a link. You may need to work with doctors or researchers who are experts on asbestos diseases to show your cancer occurred as a result of your occupational exposure to asbestos.
One set of criteria established a collection of asbestos-related disease diagnoses. According to this criteria, you will need to prove:
- When and how your asbestos exposure occurred
- The companies responsible for your asbestos exposure, when possible
- Your diagnosis and how it affects your daily life
- The expenses and losses you suffered as a result of your exposure, cancer, and treatment
A lawyer can help you formulate a case plan.
Talk to an Asbestos Cancer Lawyer About Your Case Today
The asbestos cancer attorneys from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help you gather evidence and determine if you are eligible to file a claim or an asbestos lawsuit.
Call us today at (800) 794-0444 for your free case review and initial consultation with a member of our team. Our clients never pay anything out of pocket or upfront. We receive attorney’s fees only when we reach a settlement on your behalf.