What Are the Chances of Getting Cancer from Asbestos Exposure?

Workers with strong exposure to asbestos have a higher risk of developing lung cancer than those with low exposure. Inhalation of asbestos fibers has been linked to an increased risk of lung cancer in many studies, and the greater the exposure, the higher the risk. Mesothelioma and other forms of cancer can be caused by brief exposure to asbestos dust, but the risk is very low unless the exposure is intense. Lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed asbestos-related cancer in the United States, followed by mesothelioma, which affects about 3,000 people each year.

Gastrointestinal and colorectal cancers have also been linked to asbestos exposure, but more research is needed to establish a causal relationship. Studies have also suggested an increased risk of esophageal and kidney cancer among people exposed to asbestos. Asbestos has a dose-response relationship with mesothelioma, meaning that the risk of getting cancer increases with each exposure. However, not everyone exposed to large amounts of asbestos will develop the disease; research shows that approximately 8-13% of asbestos workers develop mesothelioma.

Symptoms of an asbestos-related illness usually do not appear until about 40 years after exposure. Kidney cancer is one of the 10 most common cancers in the United States and has been linked to occupational exposure to heavy metals, herbicides, industrial chemicals, and possibly asbestos. The overall five-year survival rate for all stages of ovarian cancer is 48%, while patients diagnosed with localized disease have a five-year survival rate of 93%. The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends a chest x-ray and lung function tests every three to five years for patients with noncancerous asbestos disease.

According to the American Cancer Society, 80% of mesothelioma cases are caused by known exposure to asbestos. The study found statistically significant risks of colorectal cancer, confirming an association with exposure to asbestos. When building materials containing asbestos (such as older insulation and ceiling and floor tiles) begin to break down over time, asbestos fibers can be found in indoor air and can pose a health threat. An Asbestos Law Firm can help determine if a settlement will be more beneficial compared to a jury trial.

The TSCA Hotline provides technical assistance and information on asbestos programs implemented under the TSCA, including the Asbestos School Hazard Reduction Act and the Asbestos Risk Emergency Response Act. If you are looking for support for mesothelioma, contact our patient advocates at (85) 404-4592 for more information on treatments, research, clinical trials, doctors and survivors. It is important to stay up to date on all aspects related to asbestos exposure control in schools and other buildings.

Marissa Trafford
Marissa Trafford

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