Asbestos Lung Cancer
Advice on chronic and malignant asbestos related lung disease arising from asbestos exposure in the workplace and elsewhere
Asbestos lung cancer is an asbestos induced condition that occurs when the bronchi become malignant, exhibiting growth tumours. The bronchi are tubes that convey air in and out of the lungs. When these tubes become cancerous, the tumours invade adjacent tissues.
Asbestos related lung disease can lie dormant for several decades before they become malignant. This dormant period is typically twenty to thirty years and during the early stages, most cancer sufferers are asymptomatic (not showing symptoms).
Research shows an increase in the number of workers that have contracted asbestos related cancer as a result of asbestos exposure in the workplace. Among these workers, findings show a higher rate of prevalence among those who smoke.
Although the correlation between asbestos exposure and lung cancer is undeniable, there is no clinical differentiation between asbestos induced deaths and those attributable to smoking. As a consequence it is not possible to count asbestos related deaths. Such statistics have to be determined by a process of estimation.
Pathologists test for asbestos related cancer by taking tissue samples (biopsy). Five main biopsies are used to test for malignant tissue. They include:
- Bronchoscopy which involves use of bronchoscope down the air passage
- Needle aspiration
The main scanning techniques for detecting asbestos lung cancer are x-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) and positron emission tomography (PET).