What Is Asbestos Lung Cancer?
- Casey Hamm
- August 14, 2019
Asbestos lung cancer refers to a form of the disease that develops in your lung(s) after you have been exposed to asbestos, a known carcinogen (cancer-causing substance). You can sue for asbestos lung cancer if you have developed an asbestos-related illness.
Asbestos Exposure in the U.S.
As far back as the mid-1800s, asbestos has been used in American industry. The naturally occurring, fibrous mineral became popular in many industrial applications due to its strength, resistance to heat and chemicals, and low conductivity. By the time of the Industrial Revolution, manufacturers were milling asbestos for use in insulation for ships, schools, and homes, as well as brake parts for cars, floor and ceiling tiles, cement, roofing shingles, and many other products.
Cause for Health Concern
By the mid-1900s, evidence of the harm asbestos posed began to emerge, but the usefulness of the substance dampened the urgency to curtail or cease production. As a result, vast numbers of workers suffered intense and prolonged exposure to asbestos during this period.
By the mid-1970s, the link between asbestos and lung cancer was well established and could no longer be ignored. The laws enacted during this time served to stop asbestos use in new products. However, the threat of exposure still exists in the buildings constructed and insulated with asbestos during the mid-20th century.
Asbestos Recognized as a Carcinogen
In 1980, for the first time, the National Toxicology Program of the Department of Health and Human Services included asbestos in its National Toxicology Program’s 14th Report on Carcinogens. This report details all known carcinogenic environmental exposures, describing the cancer studies conducted, properties of the substance, elements of exposure, and so on.
The carcinogens contained in this report contribute to the development of cancer based on the amount of the substance to which you are exposed and the length of time you endured the exposure.
How Asbestos Causes Lung Cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer develops in people who worked with asbestos at least 15 years after they were first exposed to the carcinogen.
Although asbestos workers suffer the largest quantities and duration of asbestos exposure, other people also stand the chance of suffering the effects of the “miracle mineral.” As the National Cancer Institute describes, when an asbestos-containing product is “disturbed,” the tiny fibers in the asbestos released into the air, where they can easily be breathed in.
When the substance is breathed in, the fibers can stick to the mucus and find themselves trapped in the individual’s lungs. A quantity of the fibers might be coughed out, while others are swallowed with saliva and ingested into the digestive system. But for the particles that remain in the lung, some might stay for a long time. The longer the fibers stay lodged in the lungs, the more inflammation and scarring they cause.
For people who are exposed to asbestos and smoke, the risk for asbestos lung cancer is even greater than for non-smokers.
The Danger Can Spread
Cancer occurs when body cells grow abnormally and uncontrollably as a result of genetic changes that alter how the cells function. When cancer develops in the lungs, the disease is called lung cancer. However, lung cancer can spread to other body organs through metastasis.
Asbestos lung cancer accounts for a small percentage of lung cancer; the disease can also occur as a natural process, as well as by other environmental exposures.
Asbestos Lung Cancer Victims May Be Entitled to Compensation
If you were diagnosed with asbestos lung cancer after being exposed to asbestos, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your illness, medical expenses and treatment, pain and suffering, lost income and wages, and many other damages.
The mesothelioma and asbestos lung cancer lawyers at Zanes Law will do everything from A to Z to get you the compensation you deserve. Call us today for a free case review and consultation at (866) 499-8989.
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