Mention an asbestos-related disease and malignant mesothelioma is likely the first that comes to mind. But according to a recent study conducted by researchers from Finland and Australia, the carcinogenic material is likely to blame for many other types of cancer, and particularly for lung cancer in those who smoke.
Asbestos Alone Causes Mesothelioma, While Combining Asbestos and Tobacco May Make Lung Cancer More Likely
While mesothelioma researchers continue working to understand the exact mechanism that causes the disease’s tumors to develop and grow, cancer researchers from Flinders University in Adelaide, the University of Sydney, and The University of Finland recently released a report showing a previously underemphasized coaction of asbestos and tobacco that leads to lung cancer.
This is a groundbreaking discovery that is likely to make an impact on future lawsuits filed by lung cancer patients who have been exposed to asbestos and who also have a history of smoking. Asbestos companies have frequently tried to evade blame for lung cancer by pointing juries to the victim’s smoking history, but this report urges a broader understanding of the cause of lung cancer in asbestos-exposed people, indicating both that asbestos can cause lung cancer and that tobacco in combination with asbestos greatly increases that risk.
Asbestos Link to Cancers Includes Ovarian Cancer, Lung Cancer, Mesothelioma and Others
For people exposed to asbestos, mesothelioma may be the first fear but it is not the only cancer risk that they face. It is also not the first cancer that is likely to arise. The disease’s long latency period means that it can take fifty years or more for symptoms to develop, and other cancers caused by exposure to asbestos can arise earlier. The researchers involved in this study expressed concern that lung cancer that develops in smokers that have been exposed to asbestos may be exclusively blamed on their smoking history, leaving out what they see as asbestos’ clear role in the development of the disease.
Writing on their findings, lead author Sonja Klebe said, “We conclude that the mechanism of lung cancer causation induced by the interdependent coaction of asbestos fibers and tobacco smoke at a biological level is a multistage stochastic [random] process with both agents acting conjointly at all times. Any asbestos exposure, even in a heavy smoker, contributes to causation.”
If you have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, lung cancer, or any other asbestos-related disease, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net have resources available to help you identify the source of your asbestos exposure. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608 to learn more.