Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., and takes some 200,000 lives every year. While most cases of the disease are the result of tobacco use, asbestos exposure causes lung cancer in a small percentage of victims.
Asbestos has been categorized as a known human carcinogen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer. A significant amount of research has proven that asbestos exposure can result in lung cancer and mesothelioma. Some studies have also suggested a link between asbestos and other cancers, including gastrointestinal, colorectal cancers, throat, kidney, esophagus and gallbladder cancer.
Asbestos is made up of microscopic fibers that are easily inhaled. When this occurs, the fibers may become embedded in the lungs and respiratory tract. Over time, the embedded fibers can cause the type of Inflammation that promotes the growth of cancer cells.
Factors that affect an individual’s risk for asbestos-related lung cancer include:
Those most at risk for asbestos-related lung cancer include workers employed in in shipbuilding, commercial product manufacturing, power plants, and construction prior to 1980. The spouses and children of these individuals are also at risk, as they may have been exposed to asbestos brought home on the clothing of asbestos workers.
Individuals who were exposed to asbestos should seek medical advice if they experience the following:
While lung cancer can be caused by asbestos exposure, it differs in significant ways from another asbestos-related cancer called mesothelioma. For example, lung cancer originates in the lung itself, while mesothelioma develops in the lining of the lungs. Lung cancer develops as individual tumors with defined boundaries. Mesothelioma tumors are usually scattered around the lining of the lung. However, they eventually grow together to form a sheath-like tumor around the organ.
Asbestos exposure is the exclusive cause of mesothelioma. However, the majority of lung cancers in the U.S. are the result of smoking, exposure to second-hand smoke, or environmental exposure to radon gas.
Compensation may be available for victims of asbestos-related lung cancer. If you would like to learn more about your legal options, please contact Bernstein Liebhard LLP today at (888) 994-5118.
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