Bile Duct Cancer Linked to Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm highlight a recent study by Italian researchers, who found an association between exposure to asbestos and cholangiocarcinoma, also known as bile duct cancer.

There are dozens of illnesses associated with exposure to asbestos, both officially and causally. Among the officially recognized asbestos-related illnesses include mesothelioma, asbestosis, and several types of lung cancer. Asbestos is a known human carcinogen, so several other types of cancer have been attributed to asbestos in studies, but are not yet officially recognized as being directly caused by asbestos. Among these include ovarian, bronchial, gastrointestinal, esophageal, and laryngeal cancer.

One study found that those exposed to asbestos have a 40% greater chance of also developing laryngeal, or throat cancer. Bronchial cancer was first linked to asbestos exposure in the mid-1930s, and in the 1960s, one study found that 12-50% of patients with asbestosis also had bronchial cancer. Also in the 1960s, doctors started seeing increased risk of gastrointestinal cancers (that of the stomach, colon, liver, pancreas, etc) in those exposed to asbestos.

Cholangiocarcinoma, or bile duct cancer, develops in the ducts that carry bile to the small intestines from the liver. These tumors are usually slow-growing, and like mesothelioma, are not detected until the most advanced stages. In recent years, there has been a curious increase in cholangiocarcinoma diagnoses, which medical researchers are struggling to find a reason for. Two studies highlighted here found an association between the cancer and occupational exposure to asbestos.

The first study was conducted by researchers at the University of Bologna in Italy, and based on historical data from more than 150 patients with cholangiocarcinoma. Occupational exposure to asbestos was determined by retrospectively assessing job titles, which were listed on patient work history forms.

Researchers found an increased risk of bile duct cancer in workers exposed to asbestos, because the carcinogenic mineral chronically inflamed the duct pathways. They concluded that occupation asbestos exposure could indeed be one of the reason cholangiocarcinoma has progressively risen during the last 30 years.

The second study was recently published in Environmental Health Perspectives, and was conducted again by Italian researchers. This study first acknowledged that exposure to asbestos fibers can result in the development of several, unexpected types of cancer. They hypothesized that at least some of bile duct cancers are caused by asbestos. They analyzed more than 250 cholangiocarcinoma patients, analyzing their recent, remote, and occupational clinical history, and the potential for occupational or household exposure to asbestos.

Of the 250 patients with bile duct cancer, 24 were exposed to asbestos either occupationally or through the household, and 10 of those patients did not have any other risk factors for cholangiocarcinoma development. These findings suggest that asbestos should be considered as factor in the mysterious increase of cholangiocaracinoma in Western countries.

These studies, along with dozens of others linking asbestos to cancer, merely reinforce what experts and officials have known since the 1930s – asbestos is deadly, and its use needs to be banned worldwide. Surprisingly, while the last asbestos mine closed in 2002, the toxic mineral is still imported into the country every year in large quantities. This is because asbestos is incredibly inexpensive, and can be used in a wide array of applications, for sound and heat proofing and insulation among other uses.

Asbestos exposure attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm support the worldwide call to ban asbestos. Studies are published constantly with evidence that heavily points to an association between the mineral and certain cancers or fatal diseases. If you or someone you love was exposed to asbestos and developed a related illness, contact an experienced lawyer immediately for a free legal consultation.

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