More than 6,000 Americans die from asbestos-related lung cancer every year.
Medical researchers first made the connection between asbestos exposure and lung cancer in 1935. Since then, study after study has shown the same link, which typically occurs when a person breathes in asbestos fibers, some of which become lodged in the individual’s lungs. Over a number of years, these fibers cause enough genetic and cell damage to cause the cells in the lung to turn cancerous.
Factors Contributing to Lung Cancer
Whether someone exposed to asbestos develops lung cancer usually depends on a number of factors, including the person’s overall health, genetics, smoking history, and the length and intensity of the asbestos exposure.
Since asbestos has not been banned in the U.S., the occurrence of asbestos-related lung cancer also depends to a great extent on the individual’s job. Professions such as mining, construction, heavy industry, shipbuilding, and firefighting are considered to be among the most at-risk. Veterans are also a high-risk group because of the military’s heavy use of asbestos products in bases, vehicles, and ships.
How Do I Know If I Have Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer?
Regardless of its origin, though, the symptoms of asbestos-related lung cancer are the same. They include:
- Persistent coughing;
- Shortness of breath;
- Chest discomfort or pain;
- Hoarseness or wheezing;
- Coughing up blood;
- Fatigue and loss of appetite;
- Swelling of the face and neck; and
- Chronic respiratory infections.
Typically, these symptoms only occur once the cancer reaches a later stage of development. In fact, it’s rare for lung cancer to be diagnosed early unless a patient undergoes regular screening. This is due primarily to the fact that asbestos-related diseases have a long latency period from the time of initial exposure to the onset of symptoms.
Asbestos-related lung cancer often takes between 15 and 35 years to develop. This lengthy latency period is determined by the level of exposure to asbestos. It also depends on whether the lungs are affected by additional cancer-causing substances, such as those commonly found in cigarette smoke.
What to Do If You Suspect You Are a Victim
If you or a loved one was diagnosed with lung cancer, contact our experienced lung cancer attorneys today. We will fight tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve. All consultations are free and, if we represent you or your loved one, you pay nothing unless we win. Call 800-794-0444 today.