Asbestos Lung Cancer Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatments

What is Asbestos Lung Cancer?

Asbestos Lung Cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. It kills more Americans every year than breast, prostate, and colon cancers combined. Lung cancer caused by asbestos is responsible for about 6,000 deaths in the US each year.

Only a small percentage of lung cancer cases are primarily asbestos-related. Tobacco smoking accounts for about 80% of lung cancer deaths in the United States. Exposure to asbestos increases the risk of lung cancer in smokers and non-smokers.

What You Need to Know about Asbestos Lung Cancer

  • Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, as well as coughing up blood
  • The two main forms of Asbestos Lung Cancer are small cells and non-small cells
  • Asbestos Lung Cancer develop 15 to 35 years after asbestos exposure
  • Prognosis and treatment depend on the type and stage of Asbestos Lung Cancer

The Differences of Mesothelioma vs. Asbestos Lung Cancer

Lung cancer caused by asbestos is different from pleural mesothelioma, Asbestos Lung Cancer develops in the lining of the lungs, not inside the lungs. Both diseases take decades to develop but only months to spread or metastasize.

Pleural mesothelioma and asbestos lung cancer involve similar diagnostic procedures and symptoms, but they differ in physical characteristics and treatment techniques. Asbestos exposure is the only known cause of mesothelioma, while smoking is by far the leading cause of lung cancer.

But exposure to asbestos causes six times more cases of lung cancer than mesothelioma. Lung cancer kills most of all asbestos-related diseases.

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How Asbestos Causes Lung Cancer?

When a person inhales asbestos, microscopic fibers can lodge in their lung tissue. Over the years, fiber can cause enough genetic and cellular damage to cause lung cells to turn cancerous.

Asbestos-related lung cancer usually takes between 15 and 35 years to progress from initial exposure to the onset of symptoms. Because of this long latency period, most cases diagnosed today are due to occupational asbestos exposure. They occurred decades ago when asbestos use was still prevalent.

The professions most at risk involve mining, construction, heavy industry, shipbuilding, and firefighting. Veterans are also a high-risk group for asbestos-related lung cancer because of the military’s dependence on asbestos products.

What are the Risk Factors for Asbestos Lung Cancer?

  • Smoking history
  • Duration and intensity of asbestos exposure
  • Genetics
  • Overall health

The Correlation of Asbestos Lung Cancer with Smoking

The risk of lung cancer is much higher among smokers who are exposed to asbestos because smoking impairs the ability of the lungs to remove asbestos fibers. If smokers have been exposed to asbestos, they should stop smoking immediately. Besides, they should have an annual screening for lung cancer.

Asbestos Lung Cancer Symptoms and Diagnosis

Lung cancer is associated with asbestos exposure, smoking, or other causes. Here, the disease exhibits the same general symptoms, they are:

  • Hard to breathe
  • Continuous cough
  • Chest discomfort or pain
  • Bleeding cough
  • Fatigue and loss of appetite
  • Hoarseness or wheezing
  • Swelling of the face or neck
  • Chronic respiratory infection

These symptoms usually only appear after cancer has reached a late stage of development when the cancer is more difficult to treat. People with a history of asbestos exposure should have regular check-ups for asbestos-related diseases.

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Asbestos Lung Cancer Treatments

Treatment options for asbestos-related lung cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy. Aggressive treatments aim to remove or kill cancer cells to prevent the spread of cells and tumors. Palliative therapy helps relieve pain and other symptoms to improve quality of life. Here are more details about them:

  • Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is the most common treatment when lung cancer has spread from the initial tumor. The goal is to shrink tumors and kill cancer cells.

  • Surgery

Surgical removal of the tumor may be an option if the cancer is diagnosed at an early stage when its spread is limited. Doctors may remove the tumor and a small part of the lung called wedge resection, one lobe of the lung called lobectomy, or the entire lung called a pneumonectomy.

  • Radiation Therapy

It is high-energy targeted radiation is used to kill cancer cells or slow growth.

  • Immunotherapy

Several immunotherapies such as pembrolizumab called Keytruda and nivolumab called Opdivo have been approved to treat advanced non-small cell lung cancer. Immunotherapy strengthens the immune response to recognize and kill cancer cells.

With all information about Asbestos Lung Cancer above, hope it is helpful for you.

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