The very first blog on this website was Hazardous Materials: How Asbestos Makes You Sick, where we went over the three major health issues caused by asbestos. In this article, we want to focus on probably the most well-known illness of asbestos exposure: lung cancer. Let’s look at why asbestos is hazardous, how it gets into your body, and how that exposure causes lung cancer.
How Do You Get Exposed to Asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral that was used in various materials from around the 1900s through the 1980s. Due to its natural form as bunches of silica fibers, it has high heat resistance, insulation, and even sound-deadening qualities. Combined with its relatively low cost, this mineral is perfect for building materials. As these materials decay, wear down, or are disturbed by renovation or demolition, these asbestos fibers (breaking down to microscopic “fibrils” that can become airborne) are small enough to be inhaled and pass into the lungs.
The Pathology of Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer
These inhaled fibers enter the upper (mouth, nose, and throat) and lower (lungs) respiratory tracts. While some of this material will be cleared out by the self-cleaning properties of the lower respiratory tract, some of these thin fibers make their way to the lung tissue. From there, the body recognizes the foreign objects, and triggers the immune system, leading to short-term inflammation. As the fibers sink and cut into the lungs, they cause scarring of the lungs called asbestosis. From there, long-term exposure can cause malignancies that lead to cancer.
Understanding Lung Cancer from Asbestos
It’s important to understand that, like with many cancers, there can be numerous contributing factors. As we mentioned in our blog, How Much Asbestos Exposure is Dangerous?, conditions like asbestosis, smoking, and other factors can contribute. It’s recommending for you to get tested for asbestosis if you’re experiencing those effects, which can lead to the discovery of this lung cancer. Asbestos lung cancer can take on the form of any of the major types of lung carcinoma.
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.