There has been a rise in the number of lung cancer cases caused by environmental toxins, such as asbestos, in nonsmokers.
Lung cancer takes more lives each year than colon, prostate and breast cancers combined. Unfortunately, lung cancer is still a relatively misunderstood disease and carries a stigma of being only a “smoking cancer.” However, more and more lung cancer diagnoses are being attributed to environmental toxins such as asbestos.
Whether you smoke or not, asbestos exposure can be a significant factor when it comes to a lung cancer diagnosis.
More and more people are beginning to understand that lung cancer is something that can affect anyone, especially those that have been exposed to asbestos-containing products. Baron and Budd continues to contribute both resources and efforts to asbestos advocacy groups so that awareness of non-smoking lung cancer continues to spread.
The synergistic effect of smoking and asbestos exposure
Asbestos exposure has been linked to an increase in the diagnosis of lung cancer in exposed workers since the 1940s. The combination of asbestos exposure and a history of smoking increase this risk of contracting lung cancer exponentially. This is known as a “synergistic effect.” When a person has been exposed to asbestos and has a history of smoking, they are 50 to 90 times more likely to develop lung cancer than a worker with only a history of cigarette smoking.
If I smoked, can I still pursue a claim for my asbestos exposure?
Yes, even if you smoked, it is still possible to pursue a claim against the asbestos companies for your lung cancer diagnosis. However, in order to proceed with handling your case, our asbestos lawyers must be able to show that you have been exposed to asbestos.
A prior diagnosis of asbestosis or asbestos-related pleural disease is the easiest way to demonstrate asbestos exposure. A qualified radiologist or pulmonologist can also perform a special interpretation of chest x-rays, called a B-Reading, to identify scarring in your lungs related to pneumoconiosis, or dust disease.
Past smokers who have been diagnosed with lung cancer should not hesitate to contact us, regardless of their situation. The asbestos attorneys at Baron and Budd are here to help you.
The differences between asbestos lung cancer and mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is often mistaken as lung cancer, but there are several differences between the two diseases, especially when it comes to treatment. Mesothelioma is actually a cancer of the lining of the chest wall called the pleura or the lining of the abdomen called the peritoneum. Asbestos-related lung cancer typically starts in the lining of the bronchi, which are the tubes where the windpipe and trachea divide. It can also start in other parts of the lungs such as the trachea, bronchiole or the lung tissue itself. A significant danger of asbestos lung cancer is it may quickly spread to other parts of the body. This can make it increasingly difficult to treat.
Unfortunately, asbestos lung cancer and mesothelioma are similar in one very important way: Both diseases were preventable.
Asbestos companies were well aware that their products would cause irreparable damage to those working with and around them, but continued to distribute the products anyway. The companies intentionally avoided using explicit warnings labeling asbestos as a carcinogen because they feared it would deter their ability to make a profit.
For executives in the asbestos industry, greed prevailed over responsibility, and many people have suffered from asbestos diseases such as asbestos lung cancer because of it.
The cause of asbestos lung cancer
Asbestos causes lung cancer in the same way it causes mesothelioma and asbestosis. When asbestos fibers are in your immediate environment, the fibers are inhaled and can damage your lungs. The incubation period can vary from person to person depending on the level of exposure. Symptoms of asbestos disease can appear anywhere between 10 and 50 years after exposure.
Like mesothelioma, asbestos lung cancer typically results from occupational exposure, and many patients have been able to obtain compensation for their exposure and subsequent disease. Many lung cancer patients have gone without compensation for their asbestos exposure, however, because they were unaware that asbestos exposures were partially or solely to blame for their diagnosis.
Baron and Budd has successfully recovered settlements for lung cancer patients who have been exposed to asbestos. If you have been exposed to asbestos and are struggling with lung cancer, we will work to hold the asbestos companies liable for your disease.