November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month: The Role of Asbestos

An international coalition of lung cancer advocacy organizations with support from corporate sponsors have created a website in honor of Lung Cancer Awareness Month, a month-long event going on right now throughout the month of November. Lung cancer is one of three major diseases that can be linked to exposure to asbestos, the other two being mesothelioma and asbestosis.

While most lung cancer cases are caused by smoking, followed by radon exposure, occupational exposure to asbestos increases the risk of lung cancer. People who are nonsmokers and who worked around asbestos are five times more likely to get lung cancer than those nonsmokers without asbestos exposure; however, if asbestos workers also smoke, their risk for lung cancer increases at least 50 times, according to data compiled by the American Lung Association.

The American Cancer Society says that asbestos inhalation has been linked to higher lung-cancer risk in many studies, and that all types of asbestos fibers seem to cause this increased risk. The organization also reports that the risk of lung cancer also grows with the extent of asbestos exposure.

The ACS also describes the acceleration of risk that seems to be caused by the combination of asbestos exposure and smoking, because for a worker who both smokes and has had asbestos exposure, the risk of developing lung cancer is even higher than the combined risks of each of these two factors separately if added together.

During this month of lung cancer awareness, we honor our clients, past and present, who have suffered from asbestos-related lung cancer.