Asbestos is a mineral fiber that has been used in many industries for decades. Unfortunately, exposure to asbestos can cause a variety of serious health problems, including cancer. The most common types of cancer caused by asbestos exposure are mesothelioma, lung cancer, laryngeal cancer, and ovarian cancer. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer of the thin membranes lining the chest and abdomen.
It is most commonly associated with asbestos exposure and has a five-year survival rate of 48%. Patients diagnosed with localized disease have a five-year survival rate of 93%, while those with late-stage cancer or distant metastases have a five-year survival rate of 31%. Lung cancer is also linked to asbestos exposure. Studies have shown that all forms of asbestos can increase the risk of lung cancer, and the greater the exposure to asbestos, the higher the risk.
Most cases of lung cancer in asbestos workers occur at least 15 years after first exposure to asbestos. Laryngeal cancer is another type of cancer linked to asbestos exposure. Studies have shown that people in high-risk occupations, such as construction and textile workers and miners, are at double or triple the risk of laryngeal cancer compared to those who are not exposed. Ovarian cancer is also linked to asbestos exposure.
Women who work in professions and environments with potential exposure to asbestos have a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer, as inhaled or ingested fibers can travel to the ovaries. Asbestos diseases are caused by inhalation or ingestion of asbestos fibers. When these fibers are inhaled, they can stick to the mucus in the throat, although they can be removed by coughing or swallowing. Increased exposure can cause some fibers to reach the lungs, which can irritate lung cells and eventually cause cancer or mesothelioma.
Unfortunately, signs and symptoms of asbestos cancers may not appear until 30-40 years after exposure to asbestos. This makes it difficult for doctors to diagnose these cancers until it is too late for effective treatment. Asbestos industry executives have suppressed and manipulated medical research and data on asbestos cancers for decades, making it even more difficult for victims to get the compensation they deserve.Removing asbestos from homes and other buildings can also cause some exposure, although modern asbestos abatement workers are trained to wear appropriate protective equipment to minimize exposure. If you think you may have been exposed to asbestos, it is important to talk to your doctor about your risk factors and get regular screenings for early detection.