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Asbestos Lung Cancer Lawsuit

Lung cancer caused by asbestos

Asbestos lung cancer, one of the cancers that asbestos exposure can cause, is lung cancer that develops after asbestos fibers are inhaled and become lodged in the lung tissue. It takes at least 10 years after exposure and inhaling the asbestos fibers for asbestos lung cancer to develop, and studies show that 30 to 35 years is most common.

Individuals with asbestos lung cancer and their families and loved ones may file lawsuits against the manufacturers of the products that exposed them to the deadly fibers or the employers who failed to offer adequate warnings or protection.

If you have asbestos lung cancer, you may be entitled to compensation. If you are considering filing an asbestos lung cancer lawsuit, contact us. We have access to the expertise, resources, and manpower to fully investigate each case and to track down and hold accountable those responsible for the exposure that precipitated your developing asbestos lung cancer. Smoking or a history of smoking does not matter. It is exposure to asbestos, regardless of smoking habits or history, that causes asbestos lung cancer.

Our experienced attorneys take a personalized, compassionate approach. We cut through the legalese and partner with our clients.

You can call us at 202-914-1454 or submit your case details online. Someone will contact you shortly to discuss your history, your illness, and ways in which we may be able to help you. The consultation is free. We only receive compensation if you win your case.

How Do You Get Asbestos Lung Cancer?

Anyone may be exposed to asbestos during their lifetime. But it usually takes repeated exposure over time to become ill. And studies show that the greater the exposure to asbestos—in terms of frequency and volume—the higher the risk is of developing asbestos lung cancer. Asbestos exposure can cause many possible health outcomes and cancers. In addition to asbestos lung cancer, it may lead to mesothelioma, asbestosis, and cancer of the larynx or ovaries, to name a few examples. It is where the asbestos lands or lodges in the body that determines the resultant illness.

When asbestos fibers are breathed in, they may simply be trapped on mucous to be swallowed or coughed up. However, they may make their way into the lungs and land on the lung tissue. It is when asbestos gets trapped in the lung tissue that it can cause inflammation and scarring and, eventually, asbestos lung cancer.

Machinist at work.
  • There are jobs that are high-risk for asbestos exposure because they involve working in or around products or structures that contain asbestos.
  • There are buildings—both public and private—that may have been constructed with asbestos. If asbestos in those buildings becomes airborne due to construction or some sort of disturbance, then people in or around the building may breathe in the fibers.
  • And people who live with someone who worked or works with asbestos may be exposed when the fibers get on the worker’s clothing or in their hair. The worker brings the fibers home, they become airborne, and those they live with breathe the asbestos fibers in.

It takes years after this initial exposure to develop asbestos lung cancer. While some cases of asbestos lung cancer may be found as soon as 10 years after exposure, it usually takes at least 15 years after exposure to develop, with most studies finding that 30 to 35 years is more common. This lengthy time to develop can make it hard to track down the initial exposure and cause. It also can make diagnosis difficult.

What Are the Symptoms of Asbestos Lung Cancer?

The symptoms of asbestos lung cancer are the same as those of many other lung ailments. They include:

  • Difficulty breathing or catching one’s breath
  • Chest pain or a tight feeling in the chest
  • Coughing
  • Weight loss
  • General fatigue

The fact that many of these symptoms are also associated with other, more common ailments, together with the fact that asbestos lung cancer takes so many years after exposure to develop, is another reason asbestos lung cancer is often not detected and diagnosed until the cancer is advanced.

What If You Smoke or Used to Smoke?

The risk of developing asbestos lung cancer is greatly increased for people who smoke or used to smoke. In fact, the American Lung Association has estimated that a person who smokes and has a history of asbestos exposure is 50 times more likely to develop lung cancer than someone who never smoked. However, it is not possible to get asbestos lung cancer unless asbestos is a factor. If asbestos is not involved, then the diagnosis is simply lung cancer. A diagnosis of asbestos lung cancer means, by definition, that asbestos has been found in the lung tissue.

How Is Asbestos Lung Cancer Diagnosed?

Asbestos lung cancer is diagnosed through an analysis of:

  • Symptoms reported
  • The findings of a physical exam
  • The patient’s history
  • Various medical tests

Symptoms that are indicative of possible lung problems include difficulty breathing or catching one’s breath, chest pain or a tight feeling in the chest, coughing, weight loss, or general fatigue. When reported to your doctor, they will undoubtedly examine you. Your doctor will listen to your breathing and perhaps examine your legs for signs of swelling or your fingertips or toes for clubbing, which is an abnormal widening that can be indicative of lung-related issues.

Your doctor will ask you questions not only about your current health and symptoms, but also about your history—to see if and when you could have been exposed to asbestos. They may ask about where you have lived, where you have worked, the condition and age of buildings where you have lived and worked, and jobs you have held, to try to determine if and when you could have been exposed to asbestos. If you have been exposed to asbestos and are aware of it, your doctor will want to explore how much and how often.

If these initial examinations and conversations warrant it, your doctor may order tests. These may include:

  • Chest x-ray, which can show masses or abnormal fluid if lung cancer is present
  • Lung function test, which is a test to see how much air you can breathe in and out, how fast you can breathe in and out, and how your breathing is delivering oxygen to your blood.
  • A bronchoscopy, during which material is rinsed out of the lungs and analyzed for the presence of asbestos fibers
  • A lung biopsy, in which pieces of the lung are removed surgically for examination to detect microscopic asbestos fibers

Diagram of a bronchoscopy.

Diagram of a bronchoscopy.
Credit: By Cancer Research UK

Are There Treatments for Asbestos Lung Cancer?

Asbestos lung cancer is treated via the same options available for lung cancer. These are:

  • Radiation treatment
  • Chemotherapy
  • Surgery
  • Targeted therapy, which involves using a combination of medicines and other substances to attack only the lung cancer cells so normal cells are not harmed

Because asbestos lung cancer takes at least 10 years to develop, it is often quite advanced once it is found, which negatively impacts the prognosis.

 

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