Mesothelioma Attorneys

Lung Cancer from Asbestos

Asbestos Cancer Attorney

The asbestos-lung cancer connection can be a little confusing because pleural mesothelioma, which is cancer of the lining of the lungs, is often referred to as “asbestos lung cancer”. When mesothelioma spreads to the lung tissue, it is called secondary lung cancer, but it is not the same type of cancer as primary lung cancer which initially develops in the actual lung tissue. Asbestos exposure can cause both mesothelioma and primary lung cancer.

How Asbestos Causes Lung Cancer

Asbestos causes lung cancer in the same way that it causes mesothelioma; it just causes it in different tissues. Asbestos fibers are very tiny and sharp. When they are inhaled they can get lodged in the lungs. When they get lodged in the lungs they cause irritation and inflammation. This can lead to the development of abnormal cells. Those abnormal cells multiply in a disorderly fashion and they outlive normal cells.

Like other asbestos-related illnesses, lung cancer from asbestos can take 20 to 50 years to develop after exposure.

Smokers, Non-Smokers, Asbestos, and Lung Cancer

Smoking is believed to be the leading cause of lung cancer, but a growing number of people who have never smoked are developing lung cancer, including those who have worked with asbestos. Smoking and asbestos exposure have a synergistic carcinogenic effect. Rather than simply adding one risk to the other, when these factors are combined the risk is multiplied:

  • A non-smoker who was exposed to asbestos is five times more likely to develop lung cancer than a non-smoker who was not exposed to asbestos.
  • Smoking a pack a day for 20 years, is estimated to increase your risk of developing lung cancer by about 10 fold, if you have never worked with asbestos.
  • Asbestos workers who are also smokers are 50 to 90 times more likely to develop lung cancer than non-smokers who are not exposed to asbestos.

Proving Asbestos Caused Your Lung Cancer

First of all, you must get an accurate diagnosis. A mesothelioma diagnosis serves as hard evidence that asbestos caused your cancer. Lung cancer, on the other hand, can have many causes. It can be difficult to prove exactly what caused your lung cancer. A known history of asbestos exposure without other asbestos-related illnesses can help prove your case. A diagnosis of asbestosis is even stronger evidence that asbestos caused your lung cancer because it proves that asbestos actually lodged in your lungs creating the same disease process which leads to lung cancer.