Asbestos Lung Cancer

Asbestos lung cancer is mainly caused by exposure to asbestos. Smoking, which is one of the main sources of lung cancer diagnoses, can be a risk factor for asbestos lung cancer patients.

Asbestos Lung Cancer
Defining Asbestos Cancer

What is Asbestos Lung Cancer?

Clinical scientists first discovered a potential causal connection between asbestos exposure and lung cancer development in the year 1935. 7 years later, a participant of the National Cancer Institute verified asbestos as a root cause of lung cancer.

Lung cancer the leading source of cancer deaths in the United States. It kills more Americans each year than breast, prostate and colon cancer combined.

Asbestos Lung Cancer Facts

  • Symptoms include shortness of breath, upper body pain even coughing blood in the later stages of the disease.
  • May surface 15 to 35 years after exposure to asbestos dust.
  • Two primary forms are small cell and non-small cell lung cancer.
  • Prognosis and therapy depend upon the type and stage of cancer cells.

Years of research continues to reveal the correlation between asbestos and lung cancer. In 1986, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced lung cancer as the biggest risk for Americans who deal with asbestos.

Symptoms, Signs and Medical diagnosis of Asbestos Lung Cancer

Asbestos Lung Cancer Symptoms, Signs and Medical diagnosis

Whether lung cancer development is connected with asbestos exposure or not, it usually presents similar signs:

  • Upper body discomfort or discomfort.
  • Persistent coughing.
  • Lack of breath.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Lack of energy.
  • Hoarseness or wheezing.
  • Swelling of the face or neck.
  • Coughing blood.
  • Persistent breathing infections.

A pathologist needs to examine a cluster of suspicious cells under a microscopic lens to confirm a lung cancer diagnosis. The biopsy specimen may be drawn out through a lengthy needle or with a special tool called a bronchoscope. A bronchoscope is placed into the throat and within the airways of the lungs.

The diagnostic procedure begins with imaging scans such as X-rays and CT scans. If the patient is releasing sputum in their cough, which is a combination of saliva mixed with mucus, a sputum cytology examination could disclose the presence of cancer cells in the patient.

These signs commonly emerge when lung cancer reaches a late stage of growth. It is unusual for lung cancer cells to be detected in a very early phase unless an individual is regularly evaluated by their doctor and takes a proactive approach to cancer. Patients with a background of asbestos exposure should undergo regular screenings for asbestos-related conditions such as lung cancer and mesothelioma.

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Asbestos Related Lung Cancer

How Does Asbestos Cause Lung Cancer?

Whether or not a person establishes lung cancer depends upon numerous variables. These variables consist of overall health, genes, and tobacco history. Another important factor is the time and intensity of the patient’s interaction with asbestos.

When an individual inhales asbestos dust, microscopic fibers of the hazardous mineral can come to be lodged in their lung tissue and can never be removed. Over tens of years, these fibers may cause adequate hereditary and cellular damage to the surrounding tissue, eventually leading to the development of malignant lung cells.

Asbestos-related conditions have a very long latency term from the moment of preliminary exposure to the start of signs and symptoms surfacing. Asbestos-related lung cancer commonly takes anywhere from 15 to 35 years to surface. The incubation period depends on the degree of exposure to asbestos and may be shorter for those with excessive exposure. The time it takes to develop also depends on how much the lungs are influenced by further hazards such as smoking or polluted air.

Types of Asbestos-Related Cancer

Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer Forms

Pleural mesothelioma arises in the membrane which surrounds the lung, called the pleura. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of this deadly cancer.

Peritoneal mesothelioma develops in the lining of the abdominal cavity, called the peritoneum. Peritoneal mesothelioma is less common but is more often found in women than in men.

Pericardial mesothelioma originates in the pericardium, which lines the heart.

Mesothelioma & Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer

Mesothelioma Versus Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer

Both of these tragic diseases take decades to develop yet just months to spread out or metastasize to other areas of the body. The two kinds of cancer entail comparable diagnostic procedures, however, they differ in threat variables, physical features, and even treatment strategies.

How Are People Exposed to Asbestos Dust?

Due to the prolonged latency period of asbestos-related cancer, a lot of cases that are diagnosed today were brought on by asbestos exposure that occurred tens of years ago before safety and security policies around asbestos use ever existed. Workplace asbestos exposure is the key reason for asbestos-related illness today. The most at-risk occupations entail mining, building, heavy industry, shipbuilding, and even firefighting.

The asbestos industry produced a variety of asbestos-containing products from the late 1800s up till the 1980s. The mineral was extracted at numerous sites throughout North America. The mining and commercial use of asbestos is now highly regulated in the United States.

Professionals are also a high-risk group for asbestos-related lung cancer development. This is considering the military’s hefty use of asbestos products in bases, vehicles and navy ships.

Some chemical, building, construction, and automobile manufacturers still make use of asbestos today as the mineral has not been completely banned in the U.S.

Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer and Smoking

The danger of lung cancer cells is a lot greater amongst asbestos-exposed cigarette smokers since smoking impairs the lungs’ capability to eliminate asbestos fibers. Cigarette smokers that have been exposed to asbestos dust are highly recommended to quit smoking instantly and seek yearly screenings for lung cancer cells.


Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer Forms

Forms of Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer

There are 2 primary forms of lung cancer: Small cell and non-small cell. Certain forms of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) are known to be much less hostile than the small cell lung cancer variety. Non-small cell lung cancer is a more typical malignant condition, representing greater than 85 percent of all lung cancer diagnoses in the U.S.

Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) makes up 10-15 percent of lung cancer instances and is harder to manage than the former. In common medical cases where small cell lung cancer has actually spread out beyond the confines of the upper body, it is rarely a curable condition. Asbestos exposure can produce any type or subtype of lung cancer cells.

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

There are 3 primary subtypes of non-small cell lung cancer distinguishable by the physical expression and chemical make-up of their cells:

Squamous Cell (Epidermoid) Carcinoma

Squamous cell (epidermoid) cancer is one of the rarest forms of NSCLC that can occur, creating flattened cells that line the internal airways of the lungs. Compromising 25 to 30 percent of all lung cancers cases, it is one of the most prevalent types of NSCLC seen amongst men.


Adenocarcinoma emerges in mucus-producing glandular cells that line the air cavities (lungs) of the lungs. It is a lot more common in females than males and is the primary class of cancer among nonsmokers.

Large Cell (Undifferentiated) Carcinoma

Large cell (undifferentiated) carcinoma can manifest in any region of the lung. This type of cancer grows and spreads out considerably more quickly than the other varieties of NSCLC.

Small Cell Lung Cancer

Generally stemming in the bronchi area of the lungs near the center of the upper chest, SCLC is hostile and spreads rapidly throughout the body. The notorious cancer can spread from its origin site even before presenting any signs or symptoms to the patient. It can spread to other parts of the body such as the lymph nodes, bones, liver, adrenal glands or mind.

Sadly, surgical intervention is rarely an option with SCLC. Rather, doctors rely upon the help of chemotherapy to damage cancer cells throughout the body. In situations where small cell lung cancer is restricted to the thorax or chest, chemotherapy and radiation are often used in conjunction with one another.

Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer Prognosis

Prognosis of Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer

The diagnosis for somebody with lung cancer cells relies on the type of cancer along with the respective subtype. Additionally, the diagnosis relies on the client’s general health and how far the cancer has spread by the time it has been detected by a physician. In the United States, about 18 percent of victims survive longer than 5 years after their lung cancer diagnosis.

Explaining the Factors
Asbestos & Lung Cancer Connection

How Do Physicians Connect Lung Cancer with Asbestos Exposure?

The Helsinki Criteria was developed in 1997 to assist doctors in finding when respiratory system diseases are triggered by asbestos.

For lung cancer to be diagnosed as asbestos caused, it must fit 2 requirements:

Latency Period: The lung cancer cells must have manifested a minimum of 10 years after the preliminary exposure to asbestos dust.

Proof of Asbestos ExposureThere must be either a recorded diagnosis of asbestosis, an excessive number of asbestos fibers in the lungs, or direct exposure to levels of airborne asbestos equal to or greater than 25 fibers per milliliter of air a year (f/mL-yr). To reach this limit in a 1-year work span, the patient has to have been exposed to a degree of 25 f/mL. Such a high degree is usually only found in asbestos production and asbestos insulation jobs. To reach 25 f/mL-yr in a five-year duration, a patient must have been subjected to asbestos at a degree of 5 f/mL. This degree is normal for shipbuilding and commercial insulation work.


Asbestosis & Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer

Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer and Asbestosis

The visibility of asbestosis is a reputable diagnostic marker that a client was exposed to asbestos sufficient to produce lung cancer. Asbestosis and lung cancer are typically connected. This is due to the fact that the danger for both diseases increases as asbestos fibers collect in the lungs and work away at the surrounding tissue.

Treatments are Available for Peritoneal Mesothelioma