Asbestos-Related Cancer: What You Need to Know

Inhaling asbestos fibers is what causes asbestos lung cancer. pleural mesothelioma, a rare lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure, is also caused by this toxic substance. Small cell and non-small cell asbestos lung cancer are both forms of the disease.

Which Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer Risk Factors Should I Know?

Asbestos is thought to be the primary cause of a very small fraction of all occurrences of lung cancer. Lung cancer mortality in the United States are caused by tobacco use in roughly 80% of cases. Nonsmokers and smokers alike are at an increased risk of developing lung cancer as a result of asbestos exposure.

The most common cancer-related fatality in the US is lung cancer. Each year, it claims the lives of more Americans than all forms of cancer combined (breast, prostate, and colon). Asbestic lung cancer is thought to be the cause of 6,000 American fatalities each year.

An Overview of Asbestos Lung Cancer Facts

  • Chest discomfort and bloody sputum are among the most common symptoms.
  • A disease can appear 15 to 35 years after being exposed to asbestos
  • Small cell and non-small cell are the two most common types.
  • How well a patient will fare depends on the specific type and stage of cancer.

Asbestos-Related and Mesothelioma Lung Cancer: What You Need to Know

A cancer of the lining of the lungs rather than the lung itself, pleural mesothelioma is associated with asbestos but is distinct from asbestos-caused lung cancer. It takes decades to develop, but only months to spread or metastasis, for each of these disorders

These two diseases have comparable diagnostic procedures and symptoms, but their physical properties and treatment methods are vastly different. There is just one known cause of mesothelioma; smoking is the primary cause of lung cancer.

When it comes to lung cancer, mesothelioma has a six-fold higher rate than asbestos exposure. Asbestos-related lung cancer is the leading cause of death among asbestos-related diseases.

Lung Cancer and Asbestos: What’s the Connection?

Asbestos can cause small fibers to become stuck in a person’s lungs. Many years of exposure to irritants can result in malignant lung cells developing.

Lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure might take anywhere from 15 to 35 years to manifest symptoms. Because of the extended latency period, occupational asbestos exposure from decades ago, when asbestos usage was widespread, was the most common cause of the majority of cases now diagnosed.

Heavy industries, mining, shipbuilding and firefighting are among the most dangerous jobs. As a result of the military’s usage of asbestos products, veterans are also at risk for developing asbestos-related lung cancer.

There is no material that causes more lung cancer linked to occupational exposure than asbestos. Research shows that 37.5 per cent of all workplace-related lung cancer cases are caused by asbestos.

How Asbestos Exposure Increases Your Risk of Lung Cancer

  • Asbestos exposure in terms of duration and severity
  • Genetics
  • General wellbeing
  • Smoking history

Smoking vs. Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer

Due to the fact that smoking inhibits the lungs’ ability to clear asbestos fibers, asbestos-exposed smokers have a substantially increased chance of developing lung cancer. If a person has been exposed to asbestos, he or she should immediately stop smoking and get regular lung cancer screenings.

Diagnosis and Symptoms

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been exposed to asbestos, smoked cigarettes, or something else: Lung cancer has the same symptoms.

  • A bloody cough
  • Pain or discomfort in the chest
  • No stop coughing
  • A feeling of breathlessness
  • Face or neck swelling
  • Whistling or a hoarse voice
  • Exhaustion and malnutrition
  • Respiratory infections that are persistent

These signs and symptoms usually only appear when lung cancer has progressed to an advanced stage, at which point it is more difficult to treat. Asbestos-related disease screening is recommended for everyone with a history of exposure to asbestos.

Asbestos Lung Cancer Is Diagnosed Through What Means?

Imaging tests such as X-rays and CT scans are used to begin the diagnostic process. Asbestos-related lung cancer patients in a clinical research trial conducted in 2021 had PET-CT scans that were as sensitive and specific as patients with conventional lung cancer who had similar scans.

To confirm a lung cancer diagnosis, a pathologist must study a biopsy sample of questionable tissue.

A biopsy can be taken with a long needle or a bronchoscope, which is inserted through the neck and into the lungs’ airways.

Lung Cancer Treatment

A variety of treatment options are available to those with asbestos-related lung cancer.

To prevent the spread of cancer cells and tumors, aggressive treatments try to eliminate or kill the cancer cells. Quality of life can be improved with the use of palliative therapy.

Chemotherapy: In cases where the cancer has gone beyond the original tumor, this is the most typical course of action. Its goal is to reduce tumors and eliminate cancer cells.

Surgery: If cancer is discovered at an early stage, it has a lower risk of spreading, thus surgery to remove the tumor may be a possibility. Depending on the size and location of the tumor, doctors may choose to remove a small bit of the lung, one or more of the lungs, or the entire lung (pneumonectomy).

Immunotherapy: Pembrolizumab and nivolumab (Opdivo) are two immunotherapies that have been licensed for the treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer. Immunotherapies enhance the body’s natural ability to identify and destroy cancer cells.

Radiation Therapy: In order to either destroy or slow the growth of cancer cells, high-energy focused radiation is employed.

Survival Probabilities and Prognosis

Depending on the type and subtype of lung cancer, a patient’s prognosis can vary greatly. In addition, the patient’s general condition and the extent of the cancer’s spread at the time of diagnosis come into play (the stage of the cancer).

According to the American Lung Association, 18% of patients with lung cancer survive five years or more following their diagnosis. Breast cancer (89.6 percent) and prostate cancer (47.9 percent) are the two most common cancers in the United States (98.2 percent).

One in five lung cancer patients succumb to their disease within the first year after diagnosis.

Kinds of Lung Cancer

Small cell and non-small cell lung cancer are the two most common kinds of the disease. Lung cancer can take many different forms and subtypes, many of which can be traced back to exposure to asbestos.

Lung cancer that is not small cell

NSCLC is the most common type of lung cancer, accounting for around 85% of all occurrences. Adenocarcinoma and large cell carcinoma are two of the three kinds of non-small cell.

The alveoli of the lungs are lined with mucus-producing glandular tissues, and adenocarcinoma develops in these tissues. As the most frequent form of non-smoker lung cancer, adenocarcinoma accounts for around 40% of all occurrences.

Epidermoid (squamous) cancer occurs in the flat cells that line the lungs’ inner airways. It is the cause of 25-30% of all cases of lung cancer.

Any portion of the lung might be affected by large cell carcinoma (also known as undifferentiated carcinoma). This subtype of NSCLC develops and spreads faster than the others. Large cell lung cancer accounts for between 10% and 15% of all lung cancer cases.

Cancer of the Small Lung

It is more difficult to treat small cell lung cancer (SCLC), which accounts for 10–15% of all cases. It is possible for the cancer to spread to other places of the body before any symptoms appear.

As a result of this, surgery for SCLC is an uncommon option. To treat cancer, doctors use chemotherapeutic agents that target cancer cells in the body.

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