When Asbestos is inhaled it can get stuck inside the organs of the body, which in turn can make cells start to mutate and turn cancerous. Strictly speaking the phrase “asbestos cancer” is mostly used to denote mesothelioma, there could be many other types of cancer that are linked to exposure to asbestos. One of them for example is lung cancer and occurs due to direct exposure to asbestos. It is also known that some other types of cancers like colorectal and gastrointestinal cancers have been linked to exposure to asbestos as per some studies.
The increasing factors that cause the risk of cancer are always being studied. As per statistics from World Health Organization, almost 50% of deaths that occur due to occupational cancer are a result of asbestos exposure.
Mesothelioma cancer: This is the only type of cancer that comes about and is related completely to asbestos. One can develop Mesothelioma when one ingests or inhales higher amounts of asbestos over an extended period of time. The DNA damage and the inflammation that can come about due to exposure to asbestos will subsequently result in the formation of tumors within the abdominal cavity (peritoneum) or lining in lungs (pleura). In some cases which are rare even the testicles or the lining of the heart will be affected.
Lung cancer related to Asbestos: The next common cancer that occurs in the US due to exposure to Asbestos is Lung Cancer. As per the Occupational Safety and Health Administration it one of the biggest risk in terms of health of those American workers working with Asbestos. Lung cancers related to asbestos are diagnosed more often than other forms of diseases related to asbestos. The fatalities connected with lung cancer due to asbestos exposure have been as high as ranging from 5000-10000 annually in the last two decades. In fact 4% of lung cancer in US can be related to asbestos exposure.
The risk of lung cancer is increased in smokers who are also exposed to asbestos, which is quite unlike mesothelioma. The smoking combined with the effects of asbestos will make the lungs very weak. Even current smokers who are having exposure to asbestos now can be more at risk for lung cancer.
Apart from Lung cancer and Mesothelioma, exposure to asbestos is also known to cause other types of cancer. Studies are still going on to determine how much effect asbestos has and to what extent it is responsible for causing these cancers. These studies also reveal possible links of asbestos exposure to colorectal and gastrointestinal cancers. Apart from these asbestos can also increase the risk of throat, kidney, gallbladder and esophagus cancers developing.
Some other cancers that are known to be potentially linked to exposure to Asbestos include:
- Colorectal Cancer
- Gastrointestinal Cancer
- Prostate Cancer
- Breast Cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Occurrence of asbestos related cancer: It has been found that asbestos related diseases have managed to cause fatalities of as many as 230000 lives in a span 22 years. These statistics show that the 3 main cancers related to Asbestos and also Asbestosis which is a non cancerous diseases which patients of asbestos cancer patients are known to have, has been the cause of many deaths.
The risk factors and causes of cancer that is related to asbestos: Asbestos cancer is caused due to ingesting or inhaling asbestos. When fibers which are toxic get into the body, they can result in changes at the genetic level within mesothelial cells. As time passes the healthy mesothelial cells expire and growth of tumors occurs in its place. Exposure to asbestos is almost exclusively the risk factor and the cause for Mesothelioma occurring but lung cancer can also be due to smoking too many cigarettes or due to exposure to substances like radon.
Though smoking is known to enhance symptoms that have come about from asbestos related illnesses, by itself it does not increase the risk of getting mesothelioma. Also factors like poor diet and sedentary lifestyle along with stress will increase your risks.