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Asbestos Lung Cancer

In addition to mesothelioma, asbestos exposure also leads to asbestos-related lung cancer. In this case, the cancer begins in the lining surrounding the lungs and later spread to the lungs. There, tumors form and may spread if not treated.

What Is Lung Cancer?

Most cases of asbestos-related lung cancer begin in the lung's airway passages, but they may also begin in the windpipe or the air sacs deep in the lungs that exchange blood and oxygen (alveoli). The disease develops slowly, and symptoms may not appear until decades after exposure.

Three types of lung cancer can be caused by asbestos: small cell lung cancer (SCLC), non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and mixed. The cancerous cells in SCLC are small and round, whereas the cancerous cells in NSCLC are larger. Mixed lung cancer occurs when both types are present. NSCLC is the most prevalent type of lung cancer, being present in 80 percent of cases.

Diagnosis

Because lung cancer rarely causes symptoms in the early stages, it is often not diagnosed until the cancer is in Stage III or IV. Still, diagnosis usually begins with a visit to a primary care doctor after symptoms first appear. Such symptoms may include chest pain and a bloody, productive cough.

The doctor will perform tests to determine the diagnosis. These tests will examine phlegm samples and any fluid in the lungs. The doctor may also perform a biopsy. In this procedure, the doctor will remove tissue samples taken from the lungs. One way to do this is through needle aspiration, which is an outpatient procedure that removes the tissue with a small, thin needle. Another method is surgery.

Lung Cancer Treatment

Once a positive diagnosis of lung cancer is made, treatment typically begins immediately. When caught in the early stages, surgery is used to remove portions of the lung that contain tumors. This may be followed up with chemotherapy or radiation, both of which can kill cancerous cells that remain after surgery. During later stages, surgery may not be possible. However, chemotherapy and radiation may still be used.

If you or a loved one has a history of asbestos exposure and has been diagnosed with lung cancer, you may have legal options available. Complete the simple form on this page, and one of our representatives will contact you to discuss how we can help.

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Last Edited: Thu November 14, 2013