Does Asbestos Cause Lung Cancer?


Authored by Donna Ryan in Diseases 
Published on 10-22-2009

Asbestos lung cancer or malignant mesothelioma is the result of an individual’s exposure to asbestos. Usually those people who have worked in manufacturing environments producing materials with asbestos in them are victims of this disease. In addition, family members have been known to contract asbestos lung cancer because they were exposed to the asbestos fibers that workers carried home with them.

You can contract asbestos lung cancer as long as twenty to fifty years from the date you were exposed to the substance. The asbestos fiber which is found in many building and insulating materials is so tiny that it is undetectable.

In the initial stages of the disease, the symptoms are few in number. One may possess flu-like complaints like a fever, pain in the chest area or a sporadic cough.

Normally when one is diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer, they may be treated with a combination of therapies. Usually, if a tumor is located early, curative surgery is indicated in the treatment plan. Radiation assists in killing the cancerous cells whereas adjuvant chemotherapy kills the cells after surgery. Neo-adjuvant chemotherapy helps the surgeon in shrinking a tumor so it can be more easily removed. Chemotherapy also aids in making radiation therapy more effective.

Once someone has asbestos lung cancer, there are a number of symptoms that suddenly surface. Normally sufferers will complain of a recurrent cough that doesn’t get better as well as continual chest pain. Also the patient will have difficulty breathing and will cough up blood. Some individuals complain of ongoing problems with bronchitis or pneumonia. Weight loss and or fatigue affect sufferers as well.

To make an accurate diagnosis of asbestos lung cancer, the doctor first reviews the medical history of the patient as well as the patient’s exposure to substances in the workplace. Normally a number of tests and procedures are performed.

A bronchoscopy is a procedure where the physician places a bronchoscope or a narrow lit tube down the windpipe by way of the mouth or nose so he can view the breathing passages. He gathers samples of tissues to confirm a diagnosis. If a tumor is known to exist, the physician will perform a needle aspiration to obtain a sample of tissue from the tumor. Through thoracentesis, the doctor collects a sample of fluid from around the lungs to check for the development of cancer cells. Sometimes, a thoracoscopy is needed to make a diagnosis. This is an open chest surgery used for lung cancer detection.

Many victims of mesothelioma have filed lawsuits against the companies where they contracted the disease. Unfortunately, a number of companies knew of the dangers of asbestos but did not properly inform their workers. Therefore, as a result, many suits have been brought against companies in this regard. Not only that, family members or workers have also been forced to seek financial compensation as they have contracted asbestos lung cancer through second hand exposure to the asbestos fiber. In fact, some of these individuals were the first to have symptoms related to the disease.

All that said – asbestos does indeed cause lung cancer.


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