Asbestos-related lung cancer is a type of cancer caused by inhaling asbestos fibers. These fibers release free radicals and damage the genetic code of the cells lining the lungs, making them grow abnormally.
Asbestos exposure can occur directly or indirectly. Primary exposure happens when individuals directly handle asbestos-containing materials or work in environments where asbestos fibers are released. Secondary exposure occurs when individuals not exposed to asbestos come into contact with the harmful fibers brought home on the clothes, hair or skin of someone exposed to asbestos.
What are the types of asbestos-related lung cancer?
Asbestos can cause small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Most lung cancer cases related to asbestos exposure are NSCLC, which is less aggressive than SCLC and spreads slower. However, SCLC is more responsive to chemotherapy and radiation.
What are the symptoms of asbestos-related lung cancer?
Asbestos-related lung cancer has a high latency period – the time between exposure and exhibiting symptoms. As such, most patients are diagnosed at an advanced stage, making medical intervention difficult.
Some symptoms to look out for include:
- A persistent cough
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath and wheezing
- Unexplained weight loss
- Difficulty swallowing
It’s important to note that these symptoms are not unique to asbestos-related lung cancer and may indicate other conditions. Therefore, it’s essential to consult a qualified healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis.
Can asbestos-related lung cancer be treated?
Several treatment options can help improve the quality and length of life of patients with asbestos-related lung cancer. They include chemotherapy, surgery and immunotherapy. It all depends on the patient’s overall health, preferences and the stage and type of cancer.
Protect your rights and interests
People who develop asbestos-related lung cancer may be entitled to compensation to offset medical expenses and mitigate other damages caused by the illness, such as emotional anguish and pain and suffering. To pursue a legal claim after a diagnosis, it’s best to seek legal guidance to understand the process, build your case and protect your legal rights.