Lung cancer is another type of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Unlike mesothelioma, which develops in the lining of the lung, lung cancer develops in the lung itself.
While the leading cause of lung cancer is smoking, exposure to asbestos can increase the risk of lung cancer for non-smokers and smokers alike. There is an increased likelihood of developing lung cancer when a person was a smoker and also was exposed to asbestos. This is known as a synergistic effect. There is evidence that smokers who were exposed to asbestos have a 50 to 90 times greater risk of developing lung cancer than non-smokers who never were exposed to asbestos. That said, even if you were a smoker, if you have been diagnosed with lung cancer and you were exposed to asbestos you may be entitled to compensation.
Lung cancer associated with exposure to asbestos is connected with approximately 6,000 deaths in the United States annually. Although the only known cause of mesothelioma is asbestos, there are far more asbestos-related lung cancers than there are cases of mesothelioma. In fact, lung cancer is the leading cause of death for all asbestos-related diseases.
DIAGNOSIS OF LUNG CANCER
Although it takes years to rear its head, lung cancer can and will spread (or metastasize) in a short period of time if not detected early. If you suspect you may have lung cancer there are a series of diagnostic tests that your doctor may use.
Imaging and Scans: X-rays can reveal masses or nodules on the lung, while a CT scan can reveal small lesions not always apparent on an X-ray.
Cytology: If you are experiencing a productive cough creating sputum, a sample of the sputum can be analyzed microscopically and can provide diagnostic information.
There are several ways your doctor may analyze abnormal lung tissue:
Bronchoscopy: This is a test that allows your doctor to see the inside of your airways. A lighted tube will be passed down your throat and into your lungs to view the abnormal area.
Mediastinoscopy: This is a procedure where an incision is made at the base of the neck so that surgical tools can be inserted to reach the mid-part of the chest where tissue samples can be taken for further analysis.
Needle Biopsy: This is a diagnostic procedure where your doctor may use an X-ray or CT scan to assist in guiding a needle through your chest wall into the lung to obtain tissue.
Analysis of the suspicious cells will then take place in a lab whereby a diagnosis will be determined. Specialized testing can provide information about specific and unique characteristics of your cells which will help determine your diagnosis and ultimately your treatment regimen.
TYPES OF LUNG CANCER:
- Large Cell Carcinoma
- Non-Small Cell Carcinoma
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma
- Large Cell Neuroendocrine Tumors
- Small Cell Carcinoma
TREATMENT OF LUNG CANCER
Surgery usually entails the removal of the lung cancer along with a portion of healthy tissue. The amount of the lung that is removed during this procedure varies widely, based on the extent of the disease.
A “Wedge Resection” involves the removal of a small section of the lung.
A “Segmental Resection” removes more than that which is removed during a wedge resection, but less than a removal of an entire lobe.
A Lobectomy is the removal of the entire lobe of one lung.
A Pneumonectomy is the most extreme of the surgical procedures and entails the removal of an entire lung.
Chemotherapy is the use of a drug or combination of drugs to destroy the cancer cells. Some of these drugs can be administered intravenously while others can be taken orally. These drugs are taken on a specific schedule over the course of months with recovery periods built-in between treatments. More information on chemotherapy can be found by clicking here.
Radiation entails the use of high doses of radiation to shrink and/or destroy the cancer cells. Radiation is typically administered by a machine while you lie on a table; specific areas where the cancer is located are targeted. More information on radiation can be found by clicking here.
Immunotherapy: This is a type of treatment that uses your immune system to fight the cancer. It interferes with the way the body responds to cancer cells and is usually utilized when lung cancer has metastasized to other parts of the body.