Asbestos Related Cancer


surgery-2Asbestos is a very dangerous material and can cause a number of diseases including lung cancer. Even though the usage of the material has been banned and protective clothing is needed when handling, it still affects a large amount of people – around 1% of all men in the UK alone. In other countries the risks are even higher where control of the substance is more relaxed.

Due to the widespread use of the material throughout the 20th century until the 1980’s, there were many people who have come into contact with the substance, which brings up health problems in later life. Sometimes the problems only become apparent many years after the initial exposure, sometimes up to 50 years later.

The main diseases which are caused by asbestos exposure are mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer and pleural plaques.

Mesothelioma: This is when asbestos fibres get through the lungs filtration system and get lodged inside the mesothelium. The mesothelium is a membrane which protects the organs such as the lungs, heart and abdominal cavity. When asbestos fibres get lodged in this area it causes a form of cancer to form called mesothelioma, which currently has treatments similar to those for cancer, but no fully effective cause.

Asbestosis: This is classed as an occupational lung disease as it is usually caused by prolonged exposure to asbestos in industries like mining. The main symptom of asbestosis is the slow onset of shortness of breath, but can cause respiratory failure in more severe cases.

SurgeryLung Cancer: When cancerous tissue growth occurs in the lungs it can sometimes be caused by exposure to asbestos as well as other factors. If you have been exposed to asbestos in the past, this could be a contributing factor to the chance of contracting lung cancer.

Pleural Plaques: This is a form of scarring in the lungs, which is caused by asbestos fibres. When the fibres get through the lungs filtration system, they can scar the lungs. Although these do not cause any symptoms themselves, they are often precursors to more serious illnesses.

The people most at risk of these diseases are men in their later years. If you have worked in a job such as plumbing, joinery, carpentry, lagging and other trades, the chances of being exposed to asbestos is much higher than other people. If you do get diagnosed with an asbestos related disease, it is worth getting in touch with an asbestos claims company who can help you get compensation, such as Asbestos Advice Helpline. Thanks to government legislation it is possible to claim compensation even if the company no longer exists or the exposure was many years ago.