Asbestos Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is a deadly disease that starts in the cells that line the air passages in the lungs. More than 221,130 cases of lung cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year. While cigarette smoking is the main cause of lung cancer, there are many other factors that may trigger this deadly disease.
Individuals who have been exposed to asbestos face a high risk of lung cancer. This type of lung cancer is often referred to as asbestos lung cancer or pleural mesothelioma. Those who were exposed to asbestos and smoked are 50 to 100 times more likely to develop this condition.
Lung Cancer Overview
This aggressive disease occurs when abnormal cells grow out of control in the tissues of the lung. In advanced stages, the tumor can spread into other parts of the body. Lung cancer causes 1.3 million deaths each year. Small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer are the main forms of the disease, but lung cancer is rare in people under age 45.
Causes and Risk Factors
In addition to cigarette smoking, there are several factors that may cause lung cancer. Asbestos exposure, radiation therapy to the lungs, and a family history of lung cancer are some of the main risk factors. People who live in areas with high levels of arsenic in drinking water or high levels of air pollution may also develop this form of cancer.
Researchers have found that viruses may cause lung cancer in humans. Simian virus 40, human papillomavirus, and cytomegalovirus are responsible for the development of the disease. People who have been exposed to radon gas are at high risk as well.
Asbestos Exposure and Lung Cancer
The inhalation of asbestos fibers may cause severe respiratory diseases such as malignant mesothelioma, pleural plaques, asbestosis, and lung cancer. Approximately 2,000 to 3,200 people are diagnosed annually with lung cancer related to asbestos exposure. Recent studies have shown that over four percent of all yearly lung cancer cases are related to asbestos exposure.
Heavy smokers who were exposed to asbestos are 50 to 90 times more likely to develop this form of cancer over non-smoking, non-asbestos-exposed individuals. The risk of asbestos-related lung cancer depends on a number of factors, including the amount and duration of exposure, the age of the patient at the time of exposure, the type and size of asbestos fibers, and smoking habits.
Individuals who have been in close contact with asbestos regardless of smoking habits face an increased risk of lung cancer. The risk of developing lung cancer doubles after 25 cumulative years of exposure to asbestos.
How Does Lung Cancer Manifest Itself?
Lung cancer may cause no symptoms in early stages. One in four people have no symptoms at the time of diagnosis. Most patients experience chest pain, difficulty swallowing, wheezing, hemoptysis (coughing up blood), shortness of breath, and fever. Lung cancer may also cause nonspecific symptoms such as unexplained weight loss and bone pain.
If you have been exposed to asbestos and develop lung cancer, you may eligible for compensation. To find out more about lung cancer, mesothelioma, and your legal rights, please fill-in the form above.