Asbestos and Non-Small Cell Carcinoma
Non-small cell lung carcinoma, a form of cancer that forms in the cells lining the lungs, is commonly caused by long-term cigarette smoking. However, prolonged exposure to asbestos can also cause the illness. In fact, thousands of people who have worked in asbestos mining and manufacturing industries, and also in construction and demolition sites that contain such materials, are at risk for developing the disease.
How Asbestos Causes Cancer
Once inhaled, asbestos sticks to the lining of the airways and cells in the throat and lungs. Once stuck, the cells begin to divide abnormally. Lung cancer develops very slowly from there and may spread to other parts of the body. It develops as either small cell lung cancer or non-small cell lung cancer. In some cases, these two can occur at the same time. However, the majority of lung cancer cases are non-small cell.
Asbestos-induced lung cancer can present without symptoms during its early stage. So when cancer is suspected, people have to go through biopsies, imaging tests, and sputum tests, which evaluate the materials found in the lungs. Because of the nature of the disease, most patients discover that they have cancer at a late stage.
At this point, patients with asbestos-induced lung cancer have many treatment options, depending on the severity of their condition. Treatments for lung cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and sometimes a combination of these. Photodynamic therapy (a technique using light to kill cancer cells) and biologic therapy (a method that uses the body's own immune system) have also become very popular. In some cases, patients may take part in clinical trials to try new medications and procedures.
Preventing Asbestos-Related Cancer
Although lung cancer is a very serious disease, it is preventable. Almost everyone is exposed to small amounts of asbestos every day, although the amount of the substance in the natural environment is not high enough to cause damage. Those who are exposed regularly, however, are much more likely to develop cancer. People who work in an industry that utilizes asbestos should discuss health risks with their employers. Employers, at the same time, should provide all workers the proper protective equipment required by law. Work sites must also be checked to ensure safety.
If you have been affected by any type of asbestos-induced lung cancer, we can help you find the most suitable treatment. Simply fill out our form. Let us help you find the treatment plan that's right for you.