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4 Cancers That Can Be Linked to Asbestos Exposure

Legally Reviewed by Joseph P. Williams on August 25, 2021

Asbestos is a dangerous mineral that exists in countless buildings, materials and products around the U.S. Even a small amount of asbestos exposure can have severe health effects on a victim, including the development of different types of cancers. A patient’s prognosis for recovery from an asbestos-related cancer will depend on the type of cancer, its stage and many other factors. If you’re diagnosed with one of these types of cancers, you may be eligible to file an asbestos lawsuit.

Mesothelioma Cancer 

Mesothelioma is an aggressive type of cancer caused mainly by asbestos exposure. Asbestos fibers that are inhaled or ingested can get lodged inside the lining of major organs, where they will remain for many years. Over time, the asbestos particles will cause friction and irritation, and eventually form scar tissue that can turn into malignant tumors. There are four types of mesothelioma, based on the location of the tumors:

The symptoms of mesothelioma are generally not apparent for 20 to 60 years or even longer after the initial date of asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma symptoms include shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, chest pain, and swelling in the hands or feet. Although there is no known cure for mesothelioma, there are treatments available that can improve a patient’s quality of living and lengthen his or her lifespan.

Lung Cancer 

Asbestos exposure is one of the leading causes of lung cancer. Lung cancer is not the same type of cancer as pleural mesothelioma. Mesothelioma affects the membrane that surrounds the lungs, while lung cancer forms within the lungs. Lung cancer can also spread to other parts of the body, including the lymph nodes. 

Common symptoms of lung cancer caused by asbestos are trouble breathing, shortness of breath, chronic cough, wheezing, chest pain, fatigue and sudden weight loss. It may be possible to recover from asbestos-related lung cancer with treatments such as surgeries and chemotherapy. However, many types of lung cancer cannot be cured, and treatments are instead focused on making the patient more comfortable.

Laryngeal Cancer

Laryngeal cancer affects the larynx, or the Adam’s apple. In 2006, it was confirmed that asbestos exposure is a potential cause of laryngeal cancer. The risk of this type of cancer, however, depends on the amount of asbestos exposure. This is in contrast to mesothelioma, which can be caused by any amount of asbestos exposure. Laryngeal cancer from asbestos may or may not be terminal, depending on the case.

Ovarian Cancer 

In 2009, a connection between asbestos and ovarian cancer was confirmed by researchers. Asbestos fibers have repeatedly been found in patients’ ovaries, potentially deposited there via the reproductive tract or bloodstream. Trace amounts of asbestos found in talcum powder products, for example, could be a possible cause of ovarian cancer if women use these products on their upper thighs or genitals.

What Are Your Rights if You’re Diagnosed With Cancer From Asbestos Exposure? 

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with any type of cancer that could be linked to asbestos exposure, consult with an attorney near you right away about your legal rights. You may have grounds to file a lawsuit against the person or entity that negligently exposed you to asbestos, such as an employer, company, school or product manufacturer. A successful lawsuit could help you and your family pay for cancer treatments, medical care, lost quality of life and other damages.

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