Asbestos Cancer: asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma
Asbestos presents a health risk to people when fibers come off materials and spread through the air. In the absence of special precautions (masks in particular), asbestos fibers can be inhaled, enter the airways and be deposited in the alveoli of the lungs.
When workers handle asbestos materials, large amounts of asbestos fibers come loose from these materials and can circulate in the air. The three major diseases related to exposure to asbestos fibers are asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.
Types Of Asbestos Cancer
Asbestos inhalation can cause cancer of the lung envelope: mesothelioma. A mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer of the lung, abdominal cavity and heart, whose main symptoms are shortness of breath and the appearance of abdominal pain.
Mesothelioma, whose main cause is the inhalation of asbestos fibers, appears only 30 to 40 years after the initial exposure to asbestos. The treatment of mesothelioma is mainly medical and its benefit in terms of life expectancy seems very limited (14 to 16 months).
According to a report drawn up by INSERM’s group of collective expertise in 1996, at least 1950 deaths each year were attributable to exposure to asbestos fibers, of which 750 by mesothelioma and 1250 by bronchopulmonary cancer.
Asbestos can cause respiratory problems, such as asbestosis. Asbestosis is a disease caused by the accumulation of asbestos fibers in the alveoli of the lungs. These asbestos fibers will be wrapped in scar tissue, which will make the lungs less and less stretchy.
The person with asbestosis will have difficulty breathing, for example, shortness of breath. The latency period is 15 to 20 years after the first exposure to asbestos fibers.
Asbestosis is an irreversible condition that continues to evolve, even long after stopping exposure to asbestos fibers. In addition, there is no treatment that can reduce the fibrosing process.
Lung Asbestos Cancer:
The risk of lung cancer is 5 times higher in people dealing with asbestos. Exposure to asbestos fibers increases the risk of developing lung cancer by five times. The risk becomes fifty times higher if exposure to asbestos is associated with smoking.
As with asbestosis, lung cancer occurs many years after initial exposure to asbestos fibers, about 30 to 40 years later.