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British Researchers Connect IPF to Mesothelioma and Asbestosis

It has long been established that malignant mesothelioma, asbestosis and asbestos-related lung cancers are all  caused by exposure to asbestos, the deadly mineral that was an integral part of industry and construction through much of the 20th century. But there are many other diseases that, though similar to these illnesses, have not been directly linked to the same cause. Now a group of researchers from the United Kingdom is suggesting that Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, or IPF, may also be linked to exposure to the deadly material, and they are urging scientists to further explore this theory. If proven true, this may create a new wave of asbestos-related claims against companies that used asbestos in their products and operations.

Malignant mesothelioma is an extremely rare diagnosis, and asbestosis is a much more common diagnosis, but the incidence of IPF is even higher, and continues to rise. The condition is characterized by scarring in the lungs, making breathing more difficult. It is generally a condition that is diagnosed as a result of the process of elimination, with no clear causation. But the notion that IPF’s origin is unknown is being challenged by members of the Health and Safety Laboratory in Buxton, which reviewed mortality data to see if there was any link between the incidence of mesothelioma, asbestosis, and IPF and the increase in imports and use of asbestos during the same time period. What they found was that there was an increase in the number of IPF deaths during the period that they examined; that there was a strong relationship between the incidence of mesothelioma and IPF and the import and use of asbestos; and that the relationship between the incidence of IPF and asbestos imports was markedly similar to the relationship between the incidence of mesothelioma and asbestos imports. These three points give rise to the obvious question of whether IPF may be yet another asbestos-related disease, rather than arising from a mystery source as previously assumed.

The authors of the study have indicated that though their research does not specifically indicate that asbestos is the medical cause of IPF in the same way that it is the cause of mesothelioma and asbestosis, they believe that it is worth studying. For those who have been diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, the news may open the possibility of seeking compensation from the asbestos companies that exposed them to the material years earlier.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease like mesothelioma, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net have all the information you need about the latest news and resources available. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an experienced blog writer, editor, and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of expertise include health, medical research, and law.

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