What Are the Odds of Getting Cancer from Asbestos Exposure?

Asbestos is a natural mineral that has been linked to an increased risk of lung cancer in many studies of workers exposed to it. The greater the exposure to asbestos, the higher the risk of developing lung cancer. Most cases occur at least 15 years after first exposure. Mesothelioma is the second most diagnosed cancer related to asbestos, and it affects about 3,000 people in the US every year.

Other cancers associated with asbestos include gastrointestinal, colorectal, esophageal, and kidney cancer, although more research is needed to establish a complete causal relationship. The risk of developing an asbestos-related cancer depends on the intensity and duration of exposure. Short-term exposure to asbestos dust can cause mesothelioma and other forms of cancer, but unless the exposure is intense, the risk of cancer from short-term exposure is very low. Lung cancer is the most common form of cancer in the US and the leading cause of cancer death among men and women.

Despite being the deadliest cancer among Americans, lung cancer research and resources are underfunded due to myths that influence public perception of the disease. Anyone is susceptible to lung cancer, and it's important to learn more about its causes and symptoms. Approximately 13% of all new cancers in the US every year are caused by asbestos, and more people die from lung cancer than from colon, breast, and prostate cancer combined. About 10-20% of new lung cancers occur in non-smokers, and up to 20% of Americans who die of lung cancer each year don't smoke.

Non-smokers exposed to secondhand smoke at work or at home increase their risk of developing lung cancer by 20-30%. Early detection, diagnosis, and staging are key for successful treatment of mesothelioma and asbestos lung cancer. The five-year survival rate for people diagnosed with early-stage mesothelioma is 18%, while the overall five-year survival rate for patients with mesothelioma is only 10%. The overall five-year survival rate for SCLC (small cell lung cancer) is only 7%, while NSCLC (non-small cell lung cancer) has an overall five-year survival rate of approximately 25%.

It's important to be aware that only 31 states record five-year lung cancer survival rates. If everyone eligible for lung cancer screening would take advantage of it, the US could prevent up to 12,000 deaths a year. However, a study found that only 1.9% of the 7.6 million smokers considered eligible by the United States Preventive Services Task Force were screened for cancer.If you or someone you know has been exposed to asbestos or has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related cancer such as mesothelioma or lung cancer, contact our patient advocates at (85) 404-4592 for support.

Marissa Trafford
Marissa Trafford

Extreme travel geek. Hardcore food expert. Hardcore web nerd. Lifelong zombie lover. Incurable zombie specialist. Wannabe travelaholic.