What Causes Asbestos Lung Cancer?
Indiana Asbestos Attorney
Lung cancer stemming from asbestos exposure is a rare occurrence, causing an estimated 4,800 deaths per year. Similar to mesothelioma, also caused by exposure to asbestos, this type of lung cancer is generally diagnosed at a late stage due to the time it takes for one to develop symptoms.
Starting in the late 1800’s, companies and manufacturers in North America began using a naturally occurring, fire resistant mineral called asbestos in their products. However, after completing scientific studies, researchers determined asbestos is a dangerous product with the potential to make those who inhale it very ill. Asbestos is now banned in many countries, including Australia, Hong Kong, and Japan; however, asbestos continues to be used in construction throughout the United States, though now the use of it is highly regulated.
Asbestos related lung cancer is caused when an individual inhales the thin, microscopic fibers of this dangerous mineral. The fibers become trapped in the lungs, and, over a long period of time, causes inflammation, scarring, and the potential development of lung cancer or other asbestos related diseases. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there is a clear correlation between asbestos exposure and the risk of lung cancer, which increases as much as 4% with every year of exposure.
It can sometimes take decades before the inhaled asbestos fibers cause enough cellular damage to generate tumor formation. Essentially, this means one may be exposed to asbestos and not become sick for 10 or more years.
Who is Most at Risk?
Workers in certain trades, usually industrial, have a higher risk of developing lung cancer due to asbestos exposure than people in other trades. Shipyards are particularly dangerous because asbestos was used often in the construction of the ships, and workers were not given protective gear to protect themselves from exposure.
Other occupations in which asbestos dust could be present include:
Veterans are another high-risk group due to consistent, decades long asbestos exposure. Military ships, submarines, planes, tanks, and barracks were all built with asbestos parts and products.
Prognosis and Survival
Depending on several factors, including type and subtype of the disease and the stage at which the patient is diagnosed, the survival rate can differ among individuals. There are two main types of asbestos related lung cancer: small cell and non-small cell. The median survival rate for small cell lung cancer is 16 to 22 months, with combination chemotherapy. However, this form of asbestos lung cancer is rare, only accounting for 20% of all cases. Non-small cell lung cancer has a much higher survival rate, allowing some patients to live five or more years.
Indiana Asbestos Lawyer
At George & Farinas, we have decades of experience and a proven track record of helping injured victims and their families obtain compensation for their pain, suffering, and losses, whether they were directly exposed on a job site, in the military, or from a family member who regularly worked with asbestos products.
Contact us today for a free consultation at (855) 641-7406.