June 27, 2017
Asbestos is a known carcinogen most identified with mesothelioma, a cancer in the lining of the lungs (pleural) and stomach (peritoneal). Friable asbestos fibers can be easily inhaled or swallowed and remain in certain parts of the body for years. These tiny fibers become embedded in soft tissue causing scarring and permanent damage. Since asbestos fibers can attach to organs other than the lung, there are other cancers that can be attributed to asbestos exposure.
As airborne asbestos fibers work themselves deeper in the tissue of the lungs, the area becomes infected, inflamed, and scarred. Normal cells begin to cluster together, forming tumors and as the cancer cells continue to grow and multiply rapidly, the surrounding healthy tissue becomes more damaged. These tumors can eventually spread to other parts of the body. Studies have shown that the risk of lung cancer in relation to asbestos exposure varies due to: length of exposure, industry worked, and the type of asbestos used. Smoking plus asbestos exposure can increase the risk of developing lung cancer five or more times than smoking alone.
Laryngeal cancer is a type of throat cancer than affects the larynx – the part of the throat that is responsible for the vocal cords and protecting our airways when we swallow. In the lining of the upper airway of the larynx are thin, flat, squamous cells. When asbestos in inhaled, the thin, sharp fibers can be caught in the squamous cells and become embedded in this soft tissue. If this tissue is previously damaged from heavy alcohol use or smoking, asbestos fibers have an easier time working themselves into these sensitive areas. Those exposed to asbestos are 2.57 times more likely to develop laryngeal cancer than those who are not exposed.
Scientists and researchers have found that some inhaled asbestos fibers by-pass the lung and are swallowed into the stomach, or enter through the bloodstream. The asbestos fibers become caught in the large intestine, causing irritation which can lead to tumors. The tumors are usually benign, but over time, polyps can develop which can become cancerous. This results in colorectal cancer, or colon cancer. Those who have been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis are also at a higher risk of developing colon/colorectal cancer due to the colon already being inflamed.
Is My Cancer Caused by Asbestos Exposure?
Workers with a history of asbestos exposure may not realize the other cancerous effects that asbestos can have and that asbestos affects more than just the lungs. If you believe you have a cancer caused by asbestos exposure, it is important you contact an asbestos lawyer as soon as possible; the statute of limitations varies between each state, and if you do not act promptly, your window of opportunity can expire.
The experienced attorneys at Goldberg, Persky & White, P.C., understand that it may be difficult to pinpoint exactly where and when you were exposed to asbestos. Our job is to solve the complex and our extensive corporate documents, depositions, and medical articles built from a career spanning nearly 40 years gives us a clear understanding of what is required to succeed in asbestos litigation. Contact us today for a free case review.