Many people think that smoking is the only cause of lung cancer, unaware that asbestos can cause the fatal disease as well. Asbestos-caused lung cancer can develop in the absence of other cancer causing agents, including tobacco products.
Like other asbestos-related diseases, lung cancer can take years to develop within an individual and can be asymptomatic in its early stages. It is not uncommon that diagnoses are made after the cancer has spread from the lungs to other areas of the body, making it a fatal situation once detected.
The risk for lung cancer increases with the amount of asbestos exposure, meaning the more you are exposed to asbestos, the greater your chances are for a lung cancer diagnosis in your lifetime. While the use of tobacco products is not needed for lung cancer to occur, the risk increases dramatically when an exposure victim also smokes cigarettes.
If you are a smoker who knows you have been exposed to asbestos in the past, it would be wise to quit smoking today. In any case, smokers and non-smokers should share their exposure history with a doctor. With the right information, a health professional can accurately assess your health and look out for the symptoms of asbestos-related diseases, which are often mistaken for other respiratory illnesses.
Need to know more about lung cancer caused by asbestos? Asbestos Network and the American Lung Association can catch you up on their websites.