Helpful Information Regarding Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Caused by asbestos
“I retired from my job as an airspace engineer and shortly before that I was diagnosed with small cell carcinoma- small cell lung cancer. I went through the normal treatments: I had chest radiation..brain radiation….I felt really awful, I was in bed for two months. I felt tired…doctor told me to rest and I told him that I was already in bed. A cat scan showed that I had a small recurring tumor on my right lung…I knew I had to do something fast, ‘cause I didn’t wanna die…”
For all the emotional and financial strains your non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) diagnosis has caused you, Weitz & Luxenberg sympathizes with you. If your non-small cell lung cancer was caused by asbestos exposure, you may have grounds to file a legal claim. Owing to the statute of limitations which applies in personal injury cases, it is strongly encouraged that you contact us as soon as possible. The exact length of time that you will have to file a claim depends on the state you reside in.
We understand that being diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer, or any potentially fatal illness, is frightening and weighs heavily on you and those closest to you. Please note that although much of the information provided on this page is medical, Weitz & Luxenberg is not a medical institution. For strictly medical inquiries, please consult with your doctor or other medical professional.
You have been diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer. Now what?
Since the key to effective treatment is early detection, you should promptly explore your medical options with your doctor. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to treat your non-small cell lung cancer. Taking into account your age, overall state of health and the stage of cancer, your medical professional will tailor a treatment plan that is best suited for you and your specific needs.
My uncle was just diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer. How did his doctor test for this?
Your uncle’s doctor had to perform one or several of the following tests in order to detect, diagnose and stage his non-small cell lung cancer. We hope that this information will be useful in familiarizing you with what the standard methods of diagnosis entail.
Chest X-ray: Your uncle’s doctor performed an X-ray of the organs and bones inside of his chest in order to detect any abnormalities.
Physical Exam and History: His doctor performed “an exam of his body to check general signs of health.” (NCI) A history of your uncle’s health habits and past illnesses and treatments were also documented.
PET Scan (Positron Emission Tomography): This procedure was done “to locate any malignant tumor cells in your uncle’s body.” (NCI) In order to accomplish this, “a small amount of radioactive glucose was injected into your uncle’s veins. The PET scanner rotated around his body and produced a picture of glucose distribution in his body. His malignant tumor cells “showed up brighter in the image because they take up more glucose than normal cells do.” (NCI)
CT Scan (Cat Scan): This procedure involved “making a series of detailed pictures of areas inside of your uncle’s body, taken from different angles. The pictures were created by a computer, which was linked to an X-ray machine.” (NCI) A special dye was injected into your uncle’s veins or ingested by him to “help the organs and tissues appear more clearly.” (NCI)
Sputum Cytology: “A microscope was used to check for cancer cells in your uncle’s sputum (saliva/mucus), which he coughed up from his lungs.” (NCI)
Bronchoscopy: Your uncle’s medical professional “inserted a bronchoscope through his nose or mouth and down into his trachea and lungs.” (NCI) In some cases, a bronchoscope can be used “as a tool to remove tissue samples, which are checked under a microscope for signs of cancer.” (NCI)
Fine- needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy of the lung: In this procedure “a small incision was made in your uncle’s skin and a biopsy needle was inserted.” (NCI) A tissue sample was removed and sent in for closer analysis by a pathologist.
Thoracentesis: Your uncle’s doctor “removed fluid from the space between the lining of his chest and his lungs using a needle.” (NCI) The fluid was sent to the laboratory for further analysis.
Thoracoscopy: An incision was made between two of your uncle’s ribs, and a thoracoscope was inserted into his chest. In some cases, a thoracoscope can be used to “remove tissue or lymph node samples” (NCI) for testing.
I’m not sure about the type of non-small cell lung cancer my aunt has.
Understanding the type of non-small cell lung cancer your aunt has can be confusing. The basic thing to keep in mind is that the three primary types of non- small cell lung cancer are named for the appearance and/or location of the cancer cells in your body.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma: “Cancer that begins in squamous cells, which are thin and flat like fish scales.” (NCI) An alternate name for Squamous Cell Carcinoma is Epidermoid Carcinoma.
Large Cell Carcinoma: “Cancer that may begin in several types of large cells.” (NCI)
Adenocarcinoma: “Cancer that begins in the cells that line the alveoli and make substances such as mucus.” (NCI)
Note: It is possible for your non-small cell lung cancer to evade classification.
What non small cell lung cancer treatment options are available to me?
Your medical professional will work with you to determine which of the following options is best for you. Here are some of them:
Chemotherapy is the most commonly employed method used in the treatment of non-small cell cancer. It works to impede or completely stop the growth of cancer cells, “either by killing the cells, or by stopping them from dividing.” (National Cancer Institute)
Chemotherapy can be administered in a number of different ways. Chemotherapy drugs can be taken orally, injected into the veins, or injected into body tissue. Whichever method you and your medical professional ultimately choose, all three “permit the drugs to enter the bloodstream quickly, and have access to cancer cells,” (National Cancer Institute) whether they are in one specific area of your body, or in several areas if they have metastasized.
There are four types of surgery:
Wedge Resection: Your medical professional will “remove a cancerous tumor and some of the normal tissue around it. When a slightly larger amount of tissue is taken, it is called a segmental resection.” (NCI)
Lobectomy: Your doctor will “remove a whole lobe, or section, of your lung.” (NCI)
Pneumonectomy: This surgical procedure entails “removal one whole lung.” (NCI)
Sleeve Resection: The removal of “part of the bronchus.” (NCI)
Radiation therapy employs the use of “high energy x-rays, or other types of radiation devices to kill off cancer cells.” (National Cancer Institute)
External Radiation Therapy: This type of therapy “uses a machine out of the body to send radiation towards the site of the cancer.” (National Cancer Institute)
Internal Radiation Therapy: This type of therapy “uses a radioactive substance sealed in needles, seeds, wires or catheters that are placed directly or near the cancer. “ (National Cancer Institute)
You might wish to consider taking part in a clinical trial, which “is performed to determine the safety and efficiency of newly proposed cancer treatments.” (National Cancer Institute) Virtually every treatment or cure that has been developed for a number of diseases and disorders underwent some form of clinical trial first. The professionals in charge of the trial will determine whether or not you are eligible to take part in a clinical trial, and will do everything within their power to ensure your safety.
Clinical trials are only valuable in the fight against mesothelioma and other cancers, because they can help medical professionals develop new methods to stop cancer from reoccurring and minimize any unpleasant side effects you might experience during your treatment process.
Some clinical trials require patients who have not yet received treatment, while others call for those who have received treatment.
Who is liable for my small cell lung cancer diagnosis? Can I pursue a legal claim?
It depends. Weitz & Luxenberg will work with you to review your residential history, employment history and medical history to try and ascertain the reason for your non small cell cancer diagnosis. If you were exposed to asbestos in the past, you might have a case.
Below are common risk factors for non-small cell lung cancer:
Smoking: Smoking cigarettes, pipes and cigars remains “the most common cause of all lung cancers.” (NCI) Tobacco smoke “causes nearly 9 out of 10 cases of lung cancer.” (American Cancer Society) If you used to or are currently smoking, your medical professional will strongly advise you to stop, not only because of the toll it takes on your overall health, but it might interfere with the effectiveness of your chosen treatment plan. Smoking can also lead to other cancers and illnesses such as emphysema, mouth cancer and throat cancer among others.
Second hand smoke exposure: In much the same way tobacco smoke can harm your lungs, it can also lead to health problems for those around you via second hand exposure. Studies show that “nonsmokers who live with a smoker have a 20% to 30% greater risk of developing lung cancer, as are those exposed to tobacco smoke in the workplace.” (American Cancer Society)
Exposure to Asbestos: Asbestos was classified as highly carcinogenic to humans years ago, yet it continued to be used unabated in a number of industries. Asbestos exposure is most commonly linked with mesothelioma, a rare, deadly cancer of the lungs, and asbestosis, a non-cancerous disease that involves chronic inflammatory disease of the lungs. It can also lead to non-small cell lung cancer.
Exposure to other cancer causing agents: In addition to asbestos, there are other agents that can increase non-small cell lung cancer risk:
- “Radioactive ores” (NCI)
- Minerals such as “arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, silica, vinyl chloride, nickel compounds, chromium compounds, coal products, mustard gas and chloromethyl ethers.” (NCI)
- “Diesel exhaust “ (NCI)
Personal or familial non-small cell lung cancer history: Unfortunately, some people are more susceptible to developing certain illnesses due to genetics. That means that if one of your parents, grandparents or another relative had small cell lung cancer, it increased your risk of getting it. Additionally, if you “have had non-small cell lung cancer before, you could develop it again.” (American Cancer Society)
Pollution: If you live in an environment that has a great deal of air pollution, such as a major city, that may have contributed to your non-small cell lung cancer diagnosis. The chances of air pollution causing your non-small cell lung cancer diagnosis is slim, however. Studies show that worldwide, “about 5% of all lung cancer deaths are thought to be due to outdoor air pollution.” (American Cancer Society) Research is pending on the short and long term effects of air pollution on the human lungs.
Weitz & Luxenberg: We can get justice for you
Weitz & Luxenberg has been a leader in asbestos related litigation for over two decades. We have achieved more favorable verdicts and settlements for people just like you who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos lung cancer or asbestosis following exposure to asbestos. Our attorneys have the qualifications and experience necessary to get you the justice and compensation you deserve.
If you would like a free legal review of your mesothelioma case, please fill out the form on this page. All communication will be strictly confidential, and there is no fee unless we secure a monetary verdict or settlement for you.
National Cancer Institute:
American Cancer Institute:
National Cancer Institute (NCI):