Lung Cancer

Understanding Lung Cancer Due to Asbestos Exposure

Lung cancer is the top cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, with approximately 235,000 new cases reported annually and around 130,000 deaths, as stated by the American Cancer Society. This disease is often linked to asbestos exposure, especially among individuals with a family history of lung cancer.

Types and Subtypes of Lung Cancer

Lung cancer begins its growth within the lungs and is broadly categorized into two types: small-cell and non-small-cell. Additionally, a less common form known as carcinoid exists. Subtypes encompass small cell carcinoma (oat cell cancer) and combined small cell carcinoma for small-cell lung cancer, and adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, or large cell carcinoma for non-small-cell lung cancer. Each type and subtype have unique characteristics regarding cancer cell growth and progression.

Asbestos Exposure and Lung Cancer Development

Exposure to asbestos fibers significantly increases the risk of developing lung cancer. Inhaling these fibers, whether due to work-related hazards, environmental factors, or familial contact, can lead to their lodging in lung tissue, fostering cancerous growth over time. It's crucial for individuals with a history of asbestos exposure, especially those who smoke or used to smoke, to inform their healthcare providers about their exposure history.

Impact of Asbestos Exposure and Smoking

The risk of developing lung cancer substantially rises for individuals who both smoke and have been exposed to asbestos. Studies show that smokers exposed to asbestos face a much higher risk compared to non-smokers. Specifically, a smoker exposed to asbestos is 14.4 times more likely to develop lung cancer than a smoker without asbestos exposure. The combined effect of smoking and asbestos exposure can elevate the risk of lung cancer by 50-90 times compared to those with no history of smoking or asbestos exposure.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Symptoms of asbestos-related lung cancer may not appear until decades after initial exposure. Common signs include shortness of breath, persistent cough, coughing up blood, chest pain, hoarseness, weight loss, fatigue, recurrent infections, and wheezing. Diagnosis typically involves procedures like lung biopsy, bronchoscopy, or thoracentesis to obtain tissue or fluid samples for microscopic examination by a pathologist. Early diagnosis is crucial for accessing appropriate lung cancer treatment, including radiation therapy or participation in clinical trials.

Factors Affecting Lung Cancer Risk

Several factors influence the risk of asbestos-related lung cancer, including the dose and duration of asbestos exposure, the size and shape of asbestos fibers, individual risk factors like smoking and pre-existing lung conditions, and the time since asbestos exposure.

Lung Cancer FAQs

How does asbestos exposure cause lung cancer?

Can smoking increase the risk of asbestos-related lung cancer?

I had a case for asbestosis and have since developed lung cancer, can I file another case?

How long does it take for asbestos-related lung cancer to develop?

Who is at risk of developing asbestos-related lung cancer?

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Pioneering Justice

Leaders in Michigan asbestos litigation since 1975.

Areas Of Practice & Expertise

150+ Years Combined Experience

About Us

The Serling & Abramson law firm was founded in 1970 by Michael B. Serling. Mr. Serling was the first attorney in Michigan to file a wrongful death action on behalf of the family of a mesothelioma victim. In 1975, a young widow of an asbestos insulator contacted Mr. Serling concerning her husband who had died at age 52. She was left with two young children and was trying to raise them on a $4 per hour job. The extremely gratifying feeling of success in prosecuting the case and securing a sizable settlement for the widow and her children inspired Mr. Serling to continue this work.

Michael soon realized that it was more than just asbestos insulators who were falling victim to asbestos-related diseases. It soon became apparent that mesothelioma and lung cancer were occurring in virtually every building trade and many industrial settings. He dedicated his career to securing justice for all victims affected by asbestos exposure. Today, over 50 years later, Serling and Abramson are still representing victims of asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis.

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