The Link Between Asbestos and Lung Cancer
When it comes to figuring out whether exposure to asbestos fibers causes cancer, different types of studies are usually carried out. In the first instance, people are studied where the rates of cancer are looked at in various groups. This compares the rate of cancer among the group exposed to asbestos and the rate of the cancer among those not yet exposed to the substance. The study can also involve contrasting the rate of cancer with the entire population. However, understanding and making sense of the studies among people is never easy since different factors might end up affecting the study results.
This is where lab studies come in. lab studies involve the exposure of animals to asbestos or another substance in specific high doses to ascertain whether the substance causes certain health issues and tumors. Studying cancer in normal cells usually involves exposure of normal cells to asbestos in a lab setting to ascertain whether the cells will change. This helps to ascertain whether a specific substance causes cancer before similar traits and observations are done on people.
Since lab studies and people-studies might not really offer the proper needed evidence to clearly indicate whether specific substances indeed cause cancer, lab studies and human based studies are done concurrently to offer more insight. In the case of asbestos, lab studies on animals and studies in people populations and groups have ascertained that asbestos causes certain forms of cancer or increases the risk of specific cancers.
Asbestos fibers inhalation
After the inhalation of asbestos fibers, they either get stuck along the throat due to the mucus lining or in the windpipe, including the bronchi or lungs’ breathing tubes. Sometimes, swallowing or coughing up these fibers clears them effectively. At times fibers make their way into the lung’s small airways penetrating into the lung’s outer lining and pleura or chest wall. Such asbestos fibers cause an irritation in the pleura or lung cells resulting in pleural mesothelioma or lung cancer.
Lung cancer and asbestos fibers inhalation
As asbestos fibers are inhaled, people-based studies on workers who are exposed to asbestos have found out that lung cancer risk increases significantly. The significant increase has been ascertained as resulting from all manner of asbestos. In fact, there is no asbestos type out that doesn’t have the risk of causing lung cancer. The more the asbestos fiber exposure, the threat of attaining lung cancer goes up. In most works exposed to asbestos, lung cancer has been studied to occur and show symptoms about 15 years later. It’s even worse among smoking workers working in areas with asbestos fibers since lung cancer risks increases pointedly.
Once exposed to asbestos
Once you’re sure you have been exposed to asbestos fibers you should do a number of things. Firstly, if you’re a smoker it’s most important to quit cigarette smoking immediately. Available evidence shows that people who’ve been exposed to asbestos and quit smoking usually reduce lung cancer risk significantly.
The next step is talking to a doctor for further health checkups to ascertain whether you’ve lung cancer or any disease related to asbestos exposure. In case you’re a smoker, it’s heavily emphasized that you seek medical help as soon as possible. Choose a doctor who has experience in diseases related to asbestos exposure where x-rays, PET and CT scans will be carried out including tests on functionality of the lung. Asbestos fibers are easily detected by these tests including other problems resulting from the exposure such as pleural mesothelioma and lung cancer. If you’ve been exposed to asbestos, health experts intimate that you seek CT scans and other lung cancer screen tests whether you’ve been smoking or not.
In case of any observable symptoms related to exposure to asbestos you need to let your doctor know. This includes chest tightness or pain, coughing up blood, worsening or novel cough or shortness of breath, including rapid weight loss and trouble swallowing.
Once the doctor has confirmed you’re suffering from lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure, call an asbestos exposure lawyer immediately to seek damages to help with your treatment and improve your health and quality of life. Many lung cancer patients due to asbestos have settled or awarded millions of dollars.