Cancer Caused by Asbestos Exposure


Cancer Caused by Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos is known to be highly toxic and has been identified as a carcinogen. While most people are aware that prolonged exposure to asbestos causes mesothelioma and lung diseases, many do not know of the other cancers with which it has been linked. Asbestos has been linked to lung cancer, laryngeal cancer, , and colorectal cancer.

Asbestos fibers are easily ingested or inhaled. These fibers get embedded in body tissue and travel to other parts of the body. The fibers then cause mutations in healthy cells in surrounding tissue, resulting in the cells dividing uncontrollably, and forming clumps of tumors.


Mesothelioma is a rare cancer and aggressive cancer rare form of cancer found in the lining of the heart, lungs, abdomen, or the internal reproductive organs. This lining is called the mesothelium and is where mesothelioma gets its name.

Symptoms of Mesothelioma can include:

  • Pain in the chest or back
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Hoarseness
  • Swelling of the face and arms
  • Abdominal pain
  • Swelling or fluid in the abdomen
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Fever
  • Excessive sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Blood clots


Mesothelioma can take decades to develop. There is no cure for mesothelioma. However, it can be managed with radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and targeted drug therapy if caught early on by doctors.

Lung Cancer

Even though much of the focus on cancer caused by asbestos exposure is on mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer accounts for anywhere between 3,400 and 8,500 new lung cancer cases each year.

Symptoms of lung cancer are:

  • Persistent cough
  • Coughing up blood
  • Chest pain
  • Hoarseness
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling tired or weak
  • Infections
  • Wheezing


Lung cancer treatments can include surgery, radiofrequency ablation, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted drug therapy, or immunotherapy.

Laryngeal Cancer

Laryngeal Cancer refers to cancer tumors that develop in your throat (pharynx), voice box (larynx), or tonsils.  Along the upper air way of the larynx are thin, flat, cells called squamous cells. It is in these cells that the cancerous tumors develop, which gradually expand to the airway and the muscles in the voice box.

Signs and symptoms of throat cancer may include:

  • Cough
  • Changes in your voice
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Ear pain
  • A lump or sore that doesn’t heal
  • A sore throat
  • Weight loss
  • Stridor (high-pitched wheezing sound that indicates obstruction of the airway)


Throat cancers can be treated with a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation,and targeted drug therapy.

Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer or colon cancer is cancer that affects the colon or rectum due to the development of tumors along the lining of the large intestine. Once the cancer cells begin to spread, the cancer is very hard to control, resulting in a much higher fatality..

Symptoms of colorectal cancer include:

  • Diarrheaor constipation
  • Blood in feces that makes stools look black
  • Bright red blood coming from the rectum
  • Pain and bloating
  • A feeling of fullness in the abdomen
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • A lump in the abdomen
  • Unexplained iron deficiency

Treatment includes surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and ablation.

Asbestos Disease Attorneys

After years of exposure without protection or warning, it is ironic that there is a limited time frame to bring suits against those that injured you. Statutes of limitations (sometimes called statutes of repose) vary from state to state and put limitations from the time of diagnosis–or a similar event–to the time to file a lawsuit. In many states, there are only two years from the date of diagnosis in which you can file an asbestos lawsuit.

These time limitations mean researching and understanding your options early is instrumental in making sure your rights are not frustrated by an expiration date. GPW’s asbestos attorneys have years of experience they can share with you regarding filing an asbestos lawsuit. Settlements in asbestos cases, legal processes, and understanding how long your legal battle might last are just a few of the questions our clients often have. Please contact us for answers to your specific questions or to discuss, with no obligation, your case. 

American Cancer Society, “Asbestos and Cancer Risk” (September 15, 2015). [link]
Mayo Clinic, “Throat cancer” (August 11, 2018). [link]
Healthline, “Ovarian Cancer” (September 26, 2018) [link]

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