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Health hazards of asbestos exposure

Asbestos is a human carcinogen. In other words, it is a substance that is known to cause cancer in humans. This material has been shown to increase the chances of mesothelioma and lung cancer in people who were exposed to it.

Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that affects the thin linings of the chest and abdomen. Mesothelioma and lung cancer are not the only types of cancer that exposure to asbestos might bring. Other types of cancer include colorectal and gastrointestinal, as well as a higher risk of cancers for the gallbladder, esophagus, kidney and throat. There still needs to be more research done on these forms of cancer and the effects of asbestos exposure.

Asbestosis is another condition to which exposure to asbestos increases the risk. This inflammatory condition in the lungs causes coughing, shortness of breath and permanent lung damage. Research has shown that people who have pleural plaques, which happens when they suffer from asbestosis, can have an increased risk of developing lung cancer.

People who were exposed to asbestos regularly are the ones with the highest risk for developing mesothelioma or asbestosis. Millions of American workers were exposed to asbestos from the early 1940s on. It can take decades for the symptoms of mesothelioma to appear. Many people may have the initial signs of the disease without realizing that they have it for many more years.

Those who were exposed to asbestos and developed lung cancer, mesothelioma, asbestosis and other diseases and conditions related to their exposure do have recourse available. An experienced attorney can provide more information on how compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and much more can be pursued through the civil court system.

Source: National Cancer Institute, “Asbestos Exposure and Cancer Risk,” accessed May 20, 2016

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