Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer from Asbestos Exposure

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, there are approximately 235,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the United States, and approximately 130,000 deaths. This cancer is associated with asbestos exposure.

Lung cancer is a type of cancer that begins its growth within the lungs. There are two major types: small-cell and non-small-cell. A third less common type of lung cancer is called carcinoid. There are also five sub-categories for cancer of the lungs. Small cell lung cancer can be small cell carcinoma (oat cell cancer) or combined small cell carcinoma.

Non-small cell lung cancer can be categorized as adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, or large cell carcinoma. All types of lung cancer can be caused by exposure to asbestos. Inhaled asbestos fibers lodge in the lung tissue and over time contribute to the development of lung cancer. Once a tumor begins growing in the lungs, it may metastasize (or spread) to other parts of the body.

Victims of asbestos-associated lung cancer have often suffered from non-cancerous asbestosis before the lung cancer developed. Lung cancer may develop 20 or more years after initial asbestos exposure.

Does Exposure to Asbestos Cause Lung Cancer?

Inhalation of asbestos fibers has been linked to an increased risk of lung cancer in many medical studies. The greater the exposure to asbestos, the higher the risk of lung cancer.

Individuals who have been exposed (or suspect that they have been exposed) to asbestos fibers on the job, through the environment, or at home via a family contact should inform their doctor about their exposure history.

Asbestos Exposure and Smoking Tobacco

The likelihood of developing lung cancer after asbestos exposure is substantially increased in individuals who have smoked. While a person can develop lung cancer following asbestos exposure even if that person has no other risk factors, asbestos exposure in conjunction with cigarette smoking will exponentially increase the risk of developing lung cancer.

A smoker who was exposed to asbestos is 14.4 times more likely to develop lung cancer than a smoker who was not exposed to asbestos.[1]

Studies have shown that individuals who both smoked and have been exposed to asbestos are 50-90 times more likely to develop lung cancer than a person who neither smoked nor was exposed to asbestos.[2] Cigarette smokers who have been to asbestos and develop lung cancer are still entitled to compensation for their damages.

Symptoms of Lung Cancer

Roughly a quarter of all lung cancer patients do not show symptoms before they are diagnosed. The symptoms of asbestos-related cancer may not become apparent for many decades after the first asbestos exposure. It is particularly important to check with a doctor if any of the following symptoms develop:

  • Shortness of breath
  • A cough that does not go away or gets worse
  • Coughing up blood or rust-colored spit or phlegm
  • Chest pain that is often worse with deep breathing or coughing
  • Hoarseness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Feeling tired or weak
  • Infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia that do not go away or keep coming back
  • Wheezing

How is lung cancer diagnosed?

A lung biopsy is a medically recognized procedure to confirm a diagnosis. Lung tissue or fluid may be taken by a bronchoscopy (a thin, lighted tube inserted through the nose or mouth that removes a tiny tissue sample from the lungs) or by a thoracentesis (a needle inserted through the chest into the lung).

The tissue or fluid sample will be examined under a microscope by a pathologist. If the pathologist diagnoses, your doctor will refer you to a cancer doctor, known as an oncologist. The oncologist will discuss treatment options and provide you with resources to better handle your diagnosis. A pathology report diagnosing lung cancer is essential to support a compensation claim.

What Factors Affect the Risk of Developing Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer?

  • Dose (how much asbestos an individual was exposed to)
  • Duration (how long an individual was exposed)
  • Size, shape, and chemical makeup of the asbestos fibers
  • Individual risk factors, such as smoking and pre-existing lung disease
  • Length of time since asbestos exposure

[1] Asbestos, Smoking, and Lung Cancer: An Update (2020)

[2] Asbestos Exposure and Smoking: A Multiplicative Effect (2015)

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?

News Articles
Personal Injury Attorney

Personal Injury Attorneys Focused on Helping Individuals in Michigan

A Michigan Personal Injury Attorney When Michael B. Serling won the first jury trial in Michigan for a client who had developed asbestosis, a non-cancerous scarring of the lungs associated with asbestos exposure, it was a landmark case. This was the […]

Read the Rest
Toxic Water at Camp Lejeune

New Study Finds More Cancers Linked to Toxic Water at Camp Lejeune

New Study Links Toxic Water at Camp Lejeune to Additional Cancers A recent government study revealed that individuals, both military and civilian, who resided, worked, and served at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina during the mid-1970s and 1980s face a […]

Read the Rest
The Link Between Talcum Powder & Ovarian Cancer

The Link Between Talcum Powder & Ovarian Cancer

When The Past Can Still Harm You: The Link Between Talcum Powder & Ovarian Cancer When news outlets first reported the connection between talcum powder and various cancers, many people shrugged and thought, “I haven’t used talcum powder in years.” […]

Read the Rest
What Happened at Camp Lejeune? Camp Lejeune Toxic Water

What Happened at Camp Lejeune?

Between 1953 and 1987, the water supply at Camp Lejeune, a military base in North Carolina, was contaminated with dangerous chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, and other serious health problems. The widespread use of industrial solvents, such as trichloroethylene […]

Read the Rest
Wrongful Death Attorney in Michigan

Wrongful Death Attorney in Michigan

Wrongful Death Lawyer in Michigan Losing a loved one is painful enough without having to fight for justice. If negligence or intentional wrongdoing resulted in an untimely death, the victim’s family deserves compensation. This is where an experienced wrongful death […]

Read the Rest

Vietnam War Veteran’s Day

The Vietnam War, also known as, the Second Indochina War or the Vietnam Conflict, was a conflict in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia that lasted from November 1955 to April 1975.

Read the Rest

Looking to the Stars: Lessons from Asbestos in Space Exploration

The history of space exploration is a tale of human innovation and technological leaps. Yet, amid the triumphs and achievements, lies a less discussed aspect: the use of asbestos in spacecraft construction. Asbestos, celebrated for its insulation and heat-resistant properties, […]

Read the Rest
Asbestos in Pop Culture: Unveiling its Cultural Depictions and Impact

Asbestos in Pop Culture: Unveiling its Cultural Depictions and Impact

​​​​​​​Lights, camera…asbestos? While not the dreamiest, camera-ready topic, asbestos has found an unexpected place in pop culture. Beyond its industrial applications, asbestos and its associated health risks have woven themselves into various forms of media, from movies and TV shows […]

Read the Rest
Detroit Skyline

Cruise, Connect, and Celebrate – Serling & Abramson, P.C.’s Summer Outing

The Serling & Abramson, P.C. team enjoyed a fun summer outing earlier this week! After a delicious meal in Downtown Detroit, the crew headed aboard the Diamond Princess for a sunset cruise of the Detroit River.

Read the Rest

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.

Read More