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Asbestos Lung Cancer

Lung cancer, caused by abnormal cell growth in the lung tissues, is a devastating diagnosis. This form of cancer is strongly linked to tobacco smoking, but it may also be caused by asbestos exposure. However, this is not to say that asbestos-based lung cancer is the same condition as pleural mesothelioma. Both conditions affect the lungs, but lung cancer affects the breathing tubes and is a much more common affliction than mesothelioma.

Lung Cancer and Tobacco Use

Lung cancer causes more than 440,000 deaths each year. Of those, about 11.6 percent of female smokers contract the disease, and 17.2 percent of men do. However, Individuals who quit smoking by age 50 can reduce risk of death in the next 15 years by 50 percent.

Lung Cancer and Asbestos

Numerous studies indicate a link between asbestos exposure and lung cancer. In fact, asbestos exposure accounts for 3,400-8,500 new lung cancer cases in the United States every year, or 4 percent of cases.

Inhalation of asbestos fibers is the primary means by which asbestos exposure leads to lung cancer. The risk of developing asbestos lung cancer depends on the amount of time since exposure, the type of asbestos fibers, and the duration of exposure. 

When lung cancer develops from asbestos exposure, it usually begins in the lining of the bronchial tubes, although it may also develop in other areas. Most of these patients also suffer from asbestosis, a severe disease that causes scarring of the lung tissue. 

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Lung cancer, whether it is small-cell or non-small cell, is usually detected during a routine CT scan or an x-ray. Accordingly, most people do not experience any symptoms until the disease reaches an advanced stage. The doctor may suspect lung cancer if a patient has weakness in one arm, shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing, swelling of the face, and abnormal sounds in the lungs. Once suspected, the doctor may order further tests, such as a lung biopsy, an analysis of the patient's bronchial tubes, or a bone scan.

It's important to realize that exposure to asbestos does more than raise your risk of developing mesothelioma. To find out more, fill out the form above. We'd be happy to send you information or put you in touch with people who can help.

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