Asbestos refers to the group of minerals occurring naturally as bundles of fibers. It has largely been used to insulate buildings like homes, buildings etc. These mineral fibers were widely used for years to make construction materials as they are resistant to heat and electricity. The items that may contain asbestos include insulation in walls, shingles, siding on houses, fabrics that resist heat, car brakes etc.
The fibers that form asbestos separate very easily into tiny pieces and are easy to breathe in. They can build up in the lungs. When a person breathes in the fibers over long periods of time; the risk of getting diseases like lung cancer and mesothelioma increases. Now, there are strict laws about use of asbestos in the United States. The researchers are trying to understand the link between asbestos exposure and risk of developing lung cancer.
Over the years, researchers have found evidences that asbestos exposure can increase the chances of getting lung cancer. They have examined people who have been exposed to asbestos repeatedly over the years and they have also exposed individual cells to large doses of asbestos in lab to see cancer growth. There are various risk factors that are responsible for developing asbestos-related lung cancer. Some of these include type of asbestos one is exposed, the genetics, how much and how long is asbestos exposure etc.
Exposure to asbestos increases the risk of lung cancers in smokers and non-smokers. Lung cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in US. Lung cancer caused by asbestos is responsible about 6000 deaths in the United States every year. Asbestosis and lung cancer are closely associated and the risk for both rises when asbestos fibers accumulate in lung tissue.
Researchers are still working to find conclusive evidence regarding how much asbestos exposure will increase lung cancer risk. If you notice any early warning signs of lung cancer or you have been exposed to asbestos, it is vital to contact healthcare professional as soon as possible.
The information shared in this blog is solely for educational purposes and is not a substitute for medical advice.