In addition to mesothelioma, exposure to airborne asbestos fibers increases the risk of two other major diseases: asbestosis and lung cancer. Asbestos-related diseases can take decades to develop, often manifesting after retirement from an industrial career that involved asbestos exposure. Governmental regulation of asbestos has tightened significantly since the 1970s, so asbestos exposure has been greatly reduced.
Lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer deaths, differs from mesothelioma. Lung cancer causes the growth of abnormal, cancerous cells into a tumor in the lung itself, not in organ lining. Like mesothelioma, lung cancer can metastasize to other body organs.
By far, smoking is the highest risk factor for lung cancer. However, chronic exposure to certain industrial chemicals, including asbestos, also heightens the risk of developing lung cancer. The combination of smoking and asbestos exposure can be deadly. Anyone with a history of asbestos exposure or an asbestosis diagnosis should not smoke tobacco.
The main symptom of lung cancer is coughing. Other symptoms include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Appetite loss
- Bloody phlegm
- Weight loss
- Bronchitis or pneumonia
Common diagnostic tests include x-rays, CT scans, phlegm analysis, biopsies and various intubation tests. A variety of tests are used to determine the lung cancer stage, which influences treatment choices. Treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, medications, radiation, photodynamic therapy (medication combined with light therapy) and fluid removal.
If you have been diagnosed lung cancer and have a history of asbestos exposure, contact the Throneberry Law Group at 888-506-1131 to speak with a skilled asbestos attorney.