The number of cases of lung cancer in nonsmokers caused by asbestos and other environmental toxins has risen.
Each year, lung cancer claims more lives than breast, prostate and colon cancers put together. But this disease, unfortunately, is still relatively misunderstood. This is largely due to the stigma of only being diagnosed in people who smoke. More and more diagnoses, however, are being linked to asbestos and other environmental toxins.
Thankfully though, more people are starting to recognize the fact that anyone can be affected by lung cancer caused by asbestos. The mesothelioma law firm of Baron and Budd is committed to helping asbestos advocacy groups increase awareness of the continued spread of lung cancer.
How Does Asbestos Cause Lung Cancer?
In the same way it causes both asbestosis and mesothelioma, asbestos also causes lung cancer. Asbestos fibers damage the lungs when inhaled. Depending on the exposure level, the period of incubation can vary a great deal from person to person. Anywhere between 10 and 50 years after that exposure, asbestos disease symptoms can begin to appear.
Asbestos lung cancer is similar to mesothelioma in that both types of cancer are caused by exposure to asbestos. After being exposed to asbestos and subsequently being diagnosed with asbestos lung cancer, some patients have been able to obtain compensation. However, because they were unaware that their lung cancer may have been caused by asbestos exposure, some patients do not pursue lawsuits for their cancer.
The mesothelioma lawyers with Baron and Budd have represented several asbestos lung cancer patients who have been exposed to asbestos, and have been able to recover many settlements on their behalf. We will fight passionately for you if you are struggling with lung cancer due to asbestos exposure, targeting the asbestos companies responsible for your disease.
How mesothelioma and lung cancer differ
Often, mesothelioma is mistaken for lung cancer. However, there are several significant differences between the two – this is especially true regarding treatment. Mesothelioma affects either the lining of the abdomen – known as the peritoneum – or the lining of the chest wall – known as the pleura. Typically, asbestos lung cancer begins to develop in the lining of the bronchi. These are the tubes where the trachea and windpipe divide. However, it can begin in other areas of the lungs, including the lung tissue itself, the bronchiole or the trachea. One of the most dangerous aspects of this disease is that it can quickly move to other areas of a patient’s body. As a result, treating this disease is extremely difficult.
However, mesothelioma and asbestos lung cancer share one unfortunate similarity – they were both preventable.
Companies that manufactured asbestos-containing products continued to distribute their products even though they were well aware of the fact that asbestos causes irreparable damage to those working with and around it. Because they were afraid of losing their profits, these companies have worked to block any information about the dangers of asbestos from being released to the public.
Greed prevailed over responsibility for asbestos industry executives. As a result, many people have suffered from asbestos lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases.
How smoking and exposure to asbestos increases cancer risks
Since the 1940s, the link between an increase in lung cancer diagnoses and exposure to asbestos has been established. For those who have a history of both smoking and asbestos exposure, there is an exponentially higher risk of developing lung cancer. Known as the “synergistic effect,” the combination makes someone who has a combination of a history of smoking and exposure to asbestos up to 90 times more likely to develop lung cancer than someone who has only been a smoker.
Can you pursue an asbestos exposure claim if you smoked?
Yes, you can. If you have been diagnosed with asbestos lung cancer, you may still be able to pursue a claim against the asbestos companies. It is imperative, however, that our asbestos lawyers be able to provide evidence that you have been exposed to asbestos.
The easiest way to establish asbestos exposure is a prior diagnosis of an asbestos-related pleural disease or asbestosis. In order to identify “dust disease,” or pneumoconiosis, a qualified pulmonologist or radiologist will need to perform a “B-Reading,” which is a special interpretation of chest x-rays.
Decades ago, asbestos companies were well aware that asbestos caused life threatening diseases such as mesothelioma.
Because they were more concerned with protecting their profits than protecting lives, the companies chose to hide this information.
Before the start of the 20th century, people started to realize that asbestos could pose a risk to health. This goes all the way back to 1898, when inspectors of British factories recognized that workers were at risk of developing health problems due to exposure to asbestos. Soon, the U.S. began to take note as well. In 1918, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there was an “unusually high death rate” among asbestos workers. In a historic 1930 report, Drs. Merewether and Price revealed that asbestos workers were definitely at occupational risk for cancer. In 1938, it was determined that lung cancer was an occupational disease of asbestos workers.
Seven years later, both the scientific and medical communities agreed that asbestos was a carcinogen. In 1960, mesothelioma – an aggressive and devastating cancer – was linked to asbestos. A now-famous study of insulators was presented by Dr. Irving Selikoff in New York City in 1964. It was presented at a widely publicized and well-attended conference.
As the evidence continued to mount, asbestos companies actively worked to keep information regarding the health risks of asbestos exposure hidden from public view. While some companies paid for scientific research, at the same time they quelled publication of that research because they owned it. There were some companies that, for lack of a better term, “requested” information exposing the health hazards of asbestos exposure be kept confidential. Others simply chose to bury their heads in the sand and ignore the risks posed by their products.
All the while millions of people in the United States continued to be exposed to asbestos and suffered asbestos cancer risks. Each year, asbestosis, mesothelioma, asbestos lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases kill an estimated 10,000 Americans each year.
You should not hesitate to contact us if you have been diagnosed with asbestos lung cancer, even if you have a history of smoking. At Baron and Budd, our asbestos attorneys are ready to be of assistance in any way we can.