Non Small Cell Carcinoma and Asbestos

Non Small Cell Carcinoma and Asbestos is a hard reality as non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) caused by asbestos roots itself in the airway of the lungs.

The recent success of smoking cessation campaigns is helping decrease the number of people who die from lung cancer each year. But even with that, in the United States alone about 160,000 people each year die from this form of cancer, making smoking the leading cause of death for men and women.

Lung cancer, however, is not just caused by cigarette smoking. Educating the public about the other health risks could help save even more lives. For example, asbestos exposure is estimated to be responsible for 8,500 of the approximately 200,000 cases of lung cancer diagnosed every year. The sooner asbestos-related illnesses are diagnosed, the better the outcome.

Throughout much of the 20th century, asbestos was commonly found at industrial job sites – oil refineries, chemical plants, metal mills, construction sites and shipyards – where it was used as insulation or mixed with other materials to make commercial products because of its heat and fire resistant properties. Asbestos also was widely used by the military. As a result, millions of workers were exposed to asbestos through their careers, putting them at risk for Non Small Cell Carcinoma and Asbestos.

What Is Non Small Cell Lung Cancer?

Non-small cell carcinoma, also known non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), refers to the types of cancers that take root in the airways of the lungs. As the most common form of lung cancer, accounting for 90 percent of all respiratory conditions, its symptoms are varied. Generally, they include a productive cough, pain with breathing and shortness of breath. Asbestos-related NSCLC is characterized by a long latency period and may not be diagnosed until 40 years or more after the initial asbestos exposure.

Diagnosing Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

To determine whether a person has NSCLC, doctors look at the tumors under a microscope. If NSCLC is found, patients generally have a more favorable outlook because it typically grows and spreads more slowly than small cell lung cancer.

Upon diagnosis, NSCLC will take one of three main forms:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma — Starts in the flat epithelial cells that line the inside of the lungs. This primarily affects men.
  • Adenocarcinoma — Starts in the glandular tissues of the lungs, which produces mucus. This is the most common type in people who have not smoked as well as in women.
  • Large-cell cancer — This is the most aggressive kind of NSCLC. This form near the outer edges of the lungs.

If you have experienced any of these lung cancer symptoms and have been exposed to asbestos, please talk to your doctor immediately. He or she will diagnose you and order the appropriate treatment methods, giving you the best chance of survival.