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When Your Lung Cancer Comes from Asbestos

Each year, some 200,000 new cases of lung cancer are diagnosed in the United States. Lung cancer is responsible for more than one-fourth of all cancer deaths in the United States — more than breast, prostate and colon cancer combined.

The most common cause is cigarette smoking. More than 44 percent of new cases are found among former smokers and 43 percent among people who currently smoke.

But at the same time, 20,000 to 30,000 people who never smoked are diagnosed with lung cancer each year. People who worked with or have otherwise been exposed to asbestos, even if they never smoked, are at an increased risk for developing lung cancer. If someone was a cigarette smoker and they were exposed to asbestos, their risk for developing lung cancer is much, much greater because cigarette smoking and asbestos exposure are double hazards.

There are multiple factors governing the likelihood a person exposed to asbestos developing lung cancer. Those factors include:

  • The dose they’ve absorbed
  • How long they were exposed
  • The type of asbestos (the shape and chemical composition of the fibers)
  • The source of the exposure
  • If they also smoked cigarettes

According to the National Institutes of Health, people most at risk are those who worked around asbestos, performing tasks such as removing or installing various asbestos-containing products. Even the worker’s family could be at risk because asbestos is lethal when it is disturbed and the fibers become airborne. If fibers are on workers' clothing when they come home, those fibers can be inhaled by family members, with the same health hazards.

If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos, the first step is to inform your doctor. The prognosis improves with early detection and treatment. But it’s also important to protect your legal rights.

If you would like more information, please call an experienced asbestos lawyer at 215.546.8200 or visit our website, Asbestos Answers Now..

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