Asbestos Cancers

Last Updated on March 18, 2024 by max

What is asbestos cancer?

Asbestos cancers are most often referred to as mesotheliomas, with that being the most common type of cancer caused by asbestos.

However, other cancers have been linked to asbestos exposure such as lung, throat and ovarian cancer.

What causes asbestos cancer?

Exposure to asbestos fibers causes asbestos cancers.

When someone inhales or swallows the microscopic asbestos fibers, the risk of cancer increases as the tiny fibres can become lodged in the body.

Over a long period, these fibers can make changes to the cells in the body and lead to cancer.

Most people are exposed to asbestos because of their occupation, mainly tradesmen working in construction or shipbuilding.

Plus, you’re more at risk of developing an asbestos-related disease if you’re a smoker.

Asbestos can cause rare cancers like peritoneal mesothelioma and pleural mesothelioma.

What are the symptoms of asbestos cancer?

There are various asbestos cancer symptoms to look out for, but one of the earliest signs of asbestos-related illness is shortness of breath and coughing.

Individuals may also experience chest pain.

These particular symptoms are usually connected to pleural mesothelioma, lung cancer and pericardial mesothelioma.

Other symptoms to look out for are signs of abdominal pain or swelling, problems with digestion, feeling sick and any changes in bowel habits.

Peritoneal mesothelioma, colon cancer, ovarian cancer and stomach cancer are connected with these symptoms.

Asbestos exposure causes four main types of cancer – Mesothelioma being the most common, followed by lung, Laryngeal and ovarian.

Mesothelioma cancer

This type of cancer is the only one that is directly caused as a result of asbestos exposure.

Mesothelioma tumors form in the lining of the lungs (the pleura) in approximately 75% of cases.

In almost 20% of cases, mesotheliomas form in the lining of the abdomen (peritoneum).

And in approximately 5% of cases, mesotheliomas develop in the heart’s lining or testes.

The average life expectancy for mesothelioma patients is 12 to 21 months with treatment. However, a few people have lived with it for more than a decade.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is a big killer and is also linked to asbestos exposure, with 4% of lung cancer patients being a direct result of being exposed to the deadly minerals.

Most lung cancers are caused by smoking, but if you’ve already been exposed to asbestos, then smoking as well increases the risk.

Laryngeal (throat) Cancer

Although rare, asbestos exposure can also lead to cancer of the larynx/throat.

However, in most cases, this type of cancer is directly linked to smoking and drinking large amounts of alcohol.

Saying that, if you’ve been exposed to asbestos, and you smoke and drink heavily, then your chances of developing this illness are greatly increased.

asbestos related throat cancer
Asbestos exposure has been linked to throat cancer

Ovarian Cancer

There is a link between exposure to asbestos and ovarian cancer, but researchers have yet to identify why this is the case.

One theory is that products like talcum powder could be the cause as it’s been claimed that some brands contain traces of asbestos, although manufacturers dispute these claims.

Other possible cancers

The main cancers linked to asbestos are outlined above, but medical research suggests that there are possible links to other cancers such as colon, stomach and pharyngeal cancers (throat).

Other cancers are currently being researched as having a potential link to asbestos.

These cancers include kidney, oesophagal, Leukemia, prostate and breast cancer.

Not enough evidence has been collated to prove a definite link, but researchers continue to study the possibilities.

If you feel you have been a history of asbestos exposure, there possibility you could have a rare cancer. It’s important to get it checked out so you can start the necessary cancer treatment. It is important to catch asbestos related cancers in the early stages.


Did you find this article interesting?  Then check out our other interesting articles below.

For all your asbestos training needs call us on 0161 761 4424 or visit https://www.armcoasbestostraining.co.uk/asbestos-training-courses/ to book an asbestos training course.

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Published Jun 06, 2019

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