The dangers of asbestos are known and were made infamous with its connection to lung cancer. As we wrote about in our blog, Hazardous Materials: How Asbestos Makes You Sick, the most common health issues with asbestos exposure are asbestosis – a form of lung scarring or fibrous – and the two cancers, lung cancer and mesothelioma (cancer of the mesothelium that covers the lungs and chest walls). However, as we learn more about cancers and their causes, there are several other cancers that are starting to be linked to asbestos exposure, including bladder cancer, breast cancer, and brain cancer.
Asbestos and Bladder Cancer
An Italian study for cancer research studied 23 patients with urinary tumors who were also exposed to asbestos in their workplace. This is through the gastrointestinal wall to the urinary tract (gastrointestinal cancer is another type of cancer scientists are starting to link with asbestos), or through drinking water that has been contaminated with asbestos fibers. Asbestos has been confirmed in the urine of those exposed to asbestos, such as miners or factory workers, though a direct link to bladder and other forms of urinary tract cancers is still ongoing.
A Connection Between Asbestos and Breast Cancer?
Source: The Mesothelioma Center
There have been many studies that have tried to link breast cancer and asbestos exposure, however without statistical significance. However, studies have been shown that environmental factors do play a role in the risk of breast cancer. Two hypothesis on how asbestos can cause breast cancer are: asbestos fibers moving from the lungs to breasts via the lymph nodes through a process known as “retrograde lymphatic flow”; or that the asbestos fibers themselves pierce the lungs and push through the chest muscles into the breast tissue.
Linking Brain Tumors and Asbestos
Source: US National Library of Medicine
This study tracked asbestos insulation workers in the US and Canada, specifically looking at any and all mortalities due to brain tumors. They studied a pool of over 17,800 of insulation workers from 1967 to 1979. Of course, there was increased cancer overall, specifically lung, mesothelioma, and mouth, but there was also a 5% increase in deaths due to brain tumors.
We are still discovering all the dangers that asbestos exposure can cause. Make sure your home or business is safe from asbestos by getting inspected. Fiber Control, Inc. are fully licensed and insured asbestos remediation contractors for Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Contact us today for an inspection.