Asbestos exposure can lead to a number of lung diseases including asbestosis, pleural fibrosis and lung cancer. Asbestosis results in widespread scarring of the lungs and can leave victims short of breath and more likely to develop lung cancer. Pleural fibrosis causes inflammation, hardening and thickening of the lining of the lung tissue but has a number of symptoms so can be fairly straightforward to diagnose.
The other type of lung disease that can develop after asbestos exposure is asbestos lung cancer. This can affect either the internal portions of the lungs or the outer lining. Although it is impossible to determine the exact figure for the number of people who develop the disease because of asbestos, it is thought that there are around as many asbestos lung cancer deaths in Great Britain annually as there are mesothelioma deaths.
The reason why it can’t be said how many lung cancer related deaths are down to this is because there are many other factors which can lead to the illness developing. Tobacco smoke is just one of these so it wouldn’t be possible to say whether a person got cancer because of asbestos exposure or because they smoked.
Asbestos lung cancer can be hard to detect because in the early stages there may be no symptoms at all. There are a few such as having a cough, chest pain and weight loss but this can also indicate other illnesses which is what makes it so hard to diagnose.
If it is thought that someone may be suffering from asbestos lung cancer then a number of steps will be taken in order to confirm this. A full physical examination will be conducted and more than likely a sample of phlegm (spit) will be tested for any cancer cells. If any cancerous cells are found then either a tissue sample will be taken or a biopsy will be performed to get an accurate result.
The people who are most likely to suffer from asbestos lung cancer are those who were exposed to it during their working life. The majority of patients who have been diagnosed with the disease once worked in mines, mills or factories. However, others who have suffered high levels of asbestos exposure include construction, boilermaking and automotive repair.
More and more people who are suffering from illnesses such as asbestos lung cancer are claiming compensation from companies who failed to implement safety precautions to prevent heavy exposure. If you are looking for an asbestos lawyer then there are companies out there who can help claim payments for various things such as the cost of care you have accrued.