Weitz & Luxenberg explains the relation between asbestos and lung cancer
My grandfather was diagnosed with lung cancer, even though he never smoked a day in his life. I know that my grandfather was a boilermaker in his youth. What is the relation between asbestos and lung cancer?
Cigarettes are addictive, asbestos is not. All that was needed to protect people from asbestos-related lung cancer was a warning.
Perry Weitz, co-founder of Weitz & Luxenberg
One of the biggest myths about lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, is that it can only be caused by smoking tobacco. Without question, smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer development, but exposure to asbestos is another, often overlooked catalyst for the disease. Even though your grandfather never smoked at any point in his life, his past experience handling asbestos is probably responsible for his illness.
One report made by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, entitled, “Cigarette Smoking, Asbestos Exposure, and Your Health,” states that the combination of smoking and asbestos inhalation is lethal. If your grandfather had smoked, his “chances of getting lung cancer would have increased 84 times.” (CDC)
Asbestos was frequently used to insulate pipes and boilers, which means that when your grandfather was making and repairing boilers, he was exposed to asbestos on a frequent basis. Much like tobacco, asbestos fibers wreaks havoc on the lungs and interferes with their ability to function normally. When your grandfather “breathed in the asbestos fibers, the fibers lodged in his delicate lung tissues, where oxygen was absorbed into his blood.” (Work Safe BC) Your grandfather’s” immune system cells tried to dissolve the asbestos fibers” (Work Safe BC) but in doing so “became damaged and died.” (Work Safe BC)
Asbestos fibers have a long latency period, so your grandfather may not have experienced the symptoms of his lung cancer until fairly recently. He may have complained of the following symptoms:
Shortness of Breath
Can my grandfather survive his asbestos lung cancer?
It depends on a few factors. First, his age. Lung Cancer tends to strike older people- “almost 70% of those diagnosed with lung cancer are 65 or older,” (Medicine Net). As a person ages, it gradually becomes more and more difficult for their body to withstand rigorous treatment procedures that are necessary to prolong their life.
The prognosis of your grandfather’s lung cancer is contingent upon “the location of his cancer, whether or not it has metastasized, the type of lung cancer her has (Small Cell or Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer) and his overall health status.” (Medicine Net)
Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC): This is an especially aggressive type of lung cancer, “with a median survival time of only two to four months after diagnosis” (Medicine Net) if left untreated. Fortunately for your grandfather, his chances of prolonging his life are increased if he decides to move forward with chemotherapy and radiation, which work together to break down cancer cells. SCLC “is the type of lung cancer that is most responsive to radiation therapy and chemotherapy.” (Medicine Net) The combination of these two therapies could “prolong your grandfather’s life four to fivefold” (Medicine Net) although “only 5% to 10% of those afflicted with SCLC are still alive give years after diagnosis.” (Medicine Net)
Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC): If your grandfather has NSCLC, “the most important prognostic factor is the stage of your grandfather’s lung cancer at the time of diagnosis.” Unfortunately, if your grandfather’s lung cancer is in an advanced stage, chemotherapy, the standard cancer treatment might not be so effective. “In advanced lung cancer, chemotherapy offers modest improvements in survival,” (Medicine Net) but if your grandfather’s NSCLC was caught in an early stage, “surgery can extend his survival rate by 75%.” (Medicine Net) In a small minority of patients radiation therapy has been shown to eliminate NSCLC.” (Medicine Net)
How can Weitz & Luxenberg help your grandfather?
Weitz & Luxenberg has been handling asbestos-related cases for over 20 years. We can guide you through the process of filing a lawsuit that can compensate you for expenses such as:
Any previous out-of-pocket expenses related to your illness
Providing financial stability for you and your family
The first step towards financial compensation is contacting Weitz & Luxenberg. You can do so via the form on this page or by phone at: (800) 476-6070.
After submitting the form, a representative from Weitz & Luxenberg will be in touch within 24 hours.
Work Safe BC: http://www.worksafebc.com/
Medicine Net: http://www.medicinenet.com/lung_cancer/page7.htm