Lung Cancer

Inhaling asbestos on the job or at home can lead to the development of cancerous tissue within the lungs over time. As asbestos fibers split into smaller portions, they eventually become so small that they get lodged in lung tissue or start to interfere with the process where cells are replenished, known as mitosis.

Lung Cancer from Asbestos

Statistics show that each year, approximately 30,000 victims die from lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Since the mid-50’s that workers in these environments are at a higher risk of developing lung cancer than the rest of the country.

With cases involving severe or recurring exposure to asbestos particles, asbestos-related lung cancer is considered twice as likely to occur than mesothelioma. The consensus among U.S. doctors is that there is a direct correlation with lung cancer and asbestos exposure. The risk of death from this disease is compounded by the frequency and duration of asbestos exposure, as well as critical health factors, like smoking. People involved with these types of jobs are most likely to suffer develop lung cancer from asbestos exposure:

  • Steel mills
  • Oil refineries
  • Oil fields
  • Tire manufacturers
  • Rubber plants
  • Automobile mechanics
  • Construction
  • Shipyards
  • Pipe workers
  • Flooring, tile and roofing

For veterans, the risk of developing lung cancer after asbestos exposure typically results from frequent involvement with:

  • Navy shipyards
  • Heavy equipment
  • Aircraft manufacturing
  • Caterpillar backhoes
  • Manufacturing plants
  • Heat resistance properties
  • Repairing tanks
  • Sleeping quarters

Nearly 30,000 lung cases diagnosed each year are attributed to asbestos exposure suffered at the workplace.

Asbestos Lung Cancer and Smoking

The smokers working in these environments face an even greater risk of developing lung cancer from asbestos exposure on the job. People who smoke are 50 to 90 times to develop lung cancer from asbestos exposure than non-smokers are.

Even if you are a smoker, you still have every right to recover restitution from any parties responsible for exposing you to asbestos that contributed to you developing lung cancer.

Different Types of Asbestos Lung Cancers

Exposure to asbestos can cause you to develop either of the two major types of lung cancer:

  • Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
  • Small Cell Lung Cancer

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for approximately 80 to 85 percent of all lung cancers. The three main varieties of NSCLC to be aware of are:

  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Large cell carcinoma

The most common NSCLC to affect male workers and other victims exposed to asbestos is squamous cell carcinoma.

Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) accounts for about 10 to 15 percent of all lung cancers. The three main varieties of SCLC to be aware of are:

  • Small cell carcinoma
  • Mixed small cell or large cell carcinoma
  • Combined small cell carcinoma.

Small cell carcinoma is often referred to as Oat Cell Cancer, the most common variety of SCLC to develop.

Latency Period of Asbestos Lung Cancer

Typically, the latency period for asbestos lung cancer is 10 to 35 years following the first exposure to the microscopic fibers. Because of the long latency period, the symptoms of exposure may be mistaken for less serious ailments and the critical diagnosis is delayed. A single thread of microscopic asbestos fiber is hazardous enough to develop a potentially fatal lung cancer decades later. For many workers, symptoms of lung cancer may not occur until 15 years after first being exposed to asbestos on the job.

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Life Expectancy for Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer

The life expectancy of lung cancer can vary significantly based upon the prior health of the individual, the primary site of the cancerous growth, the level of metastization, and other factors. Due to the variety of diagnoses and the unknown causes, assembling life expectancy data just on asbestos-caused lung cancers would be difficult.

NSCLC is the less aggressive of the two types of lung cancer, and typically provides patients with more options for treatment. However, less than 18% of all NSCLC lung cancer patients live beyond 5 years following their diagnosis.

SCLC is more aggressive, offers fewer options for treatment and has a poor remission rate compared to NSCLC. Unfortunately, fewer than 7% of the patients diagnosed with SCLC live over five years beyond the date of their diagnosis.

Symptoms of Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer

Symptoms for asbestos-related lung cancer can take 10-35 years to appear in victims who have been exposed to the microscopic fibers. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Chest pain, tightness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Persistent dry cough
  • Weight loss or loss of appetite

Treatment Options for Asbestos-Caused Lung Cancer

Treatment options vary on the health of the patient, the size and location of the tumor, and other factors. Surgical removal of partial lung lobes, complete lung lobes or an entire lung is possible. Caught early enough, surgery in combination with chemotherapy and radiation is considered the most effective treatment. Diet and lifestyle changes may also be recommended.

Can I File a Claim for My Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer?

The negligent companies responsible for the asbestos exposure reported in your case may be ordered to compensate you for damages associated with any health expenses, pain or emotional turmoil you or family members suffered as a result of the lung cancer. If you have an asbestos-related work history predating 1982, you may qualify to receive additional compensation from asbestos trust funds. If you or someone close to you has been diagnosed with lung cancer or mesothelioma from asbestos exposure, we are here for you, for immediate assistance contact us anytime for a free and confidential case evaluation. Our legal team will handle your asbestos case and identify all the potentially liable parties and trust funds available.