Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was widely used in numerous construction materials and consumer products. It has been linked to deadly diseases, including multiple types of cancer. The type of asbestos and the circumstances of the asbestos exposure may affect what type of cancer a patient develops, but any asbestos exposure puts people at risk.
The use of asbestos has been restricted since the 1980s when the link between asbestos and disease was widely known, but it can still be found in older buildings and residences and in some products, such as talc-based health and beauty products. When asbestos particles become airborne, they can be inhaled or ingested and get lodged in the body. They remain there and start to damage the surrounding tissue, and over the ensuing decades, tumors can develop.
The type of cancer most strongly associated with asbestos is mesothelioma, a rare, incurable, and aggressive cancer infecting the lining of the internal organs, known as the mesothelium. Most patients develop pleural mesothelioma, which infects the lining of the lungs and chest cavity. Mesothelioma tumors can also develop in the peritoneum, which lines the stomach and abdominal cavity, the lining of the testes, or the pericardium, which surrounds the heart. Asbestos is the only documented cause of mesothelioma. Once diagnosed, most patients are left with a short life expectancy.
Other Forms of Asbestos-Related Cancers
Lung cancer has also been linked to asbestos exposure. Inhaled asbestos fibers can get stuck in the tissue in the lungs. There are other risk factors for lung cancer, including smoking, but asbestos exposure can increase the risk. Lung cancer is much more prevalent than mesothelioma, but asbestos is only a factor in a small percentage of cases.
Asbestos fibers traveling through the nose and mouth can get caught in the throat, causing tumors to develop in the larynx. The link between laryngeal cancer and asbestos was established recently, and smoking or excessive drinking can increase the risk of developing tumors in the voice box, as can other airborne carcinogens such as silica dust.
It is not just the respiratory tract that is at risk for asbestos-related cancer, asbestos has been linked to ovarian cancer as well. Asbestos fibers can travel through the blood stream or lymph nodes and get lodged in the ovaries. Using talc-based products like baby powder can also be a risk, as talc can be contaminated with asbestos when it is mined. Some patients have developed asbestos-related ovarian cancer from secondary exposure, when workers who handle asbestos in the workplace bring asbestos dust home with them on their clothes. It is not clear how many cases of ovarian cancer are impacted by asbestos.
. There have also been connections observed between asbestos and rectal cancer, pharyngeal cancer, stomach cancer, bile duct cancer, and colon cancer. Asbestos also causes non-cancerous respiratory conditions, such as asbestosis and pleural disease.
Philadelphia Mesothelioma Attorneys at Shein Law Can Help You if You Have Been Diagnosed With an Asbestos Disease
If you have been diagnosed with lung cancer, mesothelioma, or another asbestos-related disease, consult with one of our Philadelphia mesothelioma attorneys at Shein Law. We have successfully represented clients in all types of asbestos exposure cases. Located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Call 877-743-4652 or contact us online to discuss your case.