Asbestos Lung Cancer
Increasingly more people die of lung cancer each year. This aggressive disease has caused over 156,940 deaths in the United States in 2011. People who smoke have the highest risk of lung cancer. This medical condition may also occur in those who were exposed to asbestos for long periods of time. Statistics indicate that 2,000 to 3,200 people die of asbestos-related lung cancer annually. Exposure to asbestos may also cause pleural effusions, malignant mesothelioma, and asbestosis.
What is Lung Cancer?
This form of cancer begins in the lungs. Small cell lung cancer accounts for over 20 percent of all cases. Patients may also develop non-small cell lung cancer. Despite the fact that cigarette smoking is the main cause of the disease, this form of cancer has also occurred in people who have never smoked. More than 91 percent of lung cancer deaths in men and 71 percent cancer deaths in women are linked to smoking.
Lung Cancer Risk Factors
Lung cancer is caused by cigarette smoking, exposure to asbestos or radon gas, viruses, radiation therapy, high levels of pollution and exposure to carcinogens such as nickel chromates, diesel exhaust and uranium. Individuals with a family history of lung cancer may develop this disease too. Passive smoking is one of the main causes of lung cancer. People who smoked and worked with asbestos containing products face the highest risk of cancer.
Asbestos as a Cause of Lung Cancer
When inhaled, asbestos fibers make their way to your air passages and the lining of your lungs. People who are exposed to large amounts of asbestos for long periods of time present a high risk of lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma. Numerous studies outline the link between lung cancer and asbestos exposure.
Asbestos is made of tiny fibers that are able to delete large stretches of DNA from a cell's genome, destroy healthy cells, and cause oxidative damage. For smokers who have been exposed to asbestos fibers, the risk of developing lung cancer increases based on the amount and duration of exposure. Researchers have found that approximately four percent of the patients diagnosed with lung cancer every year have been exposed to asbestos.
Symptoms of Asbestos Lung Cancer
Asbestos lung cancer may cause shortness of breath, chest pain, recurring lung infections, hoarseness, weight loss, clubbing of the fingernails and wheezing. The disease is asymptomatic in early stages. Many of the symptoms associated with this condition are nonspecific. Patients may experience bone pain, fever and weakness. More than 10 percent of lung cancer patients do not have any symptoms at the time of diagnosis.
Most patients experience a cough that gets worse over time, severe chest pain, dyspnea and breathing difficulties. These symptoms may also indicate malignant mesothelioma or asbestosis.
Asbestos exposure is associated with an increased risk of lung cancer and other deadly diseases. If you have been diagnosed with this form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, fill out the form below for a free information packet.