If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with lung cancer you need an experienced Louisiana attorney to help you understand your options. The symptoms of lung cancer and asbestos related disease can be difficult to tell apart. The most common symptoms are shortness of breath, coughing (including coughing up blood), and weight loss.
Additionally the combination of smoking and asbestos exposure greatly increases a person's risk of developing cancer of the airways or lungs.
Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer and Smoking
The risk of lung cancer is much higher among asbestos-exposed smokers because smoking impairs the lungs' ability to remove asbestos fibers. Smokers who have been exposed to asbestos should stop smoking immediately and seek annual screenings for lung cancer.
How Do Doctors Link Lung Cancer to Asbestos?
The Helsinki Criteria were established in 1997. These standards help doctors determine if asbestos is the cause of respiratory diseases.
Criteria for diagnosing asbestos-related lung cancer includes:
- Latency Period: The lung cancer must have developed at least 10 years after the initial exposure to asbestos.
- Evidence of Asbestos Exposure: This may include a diagnosis of asbestosis, higher than normal asbestos fibers in the lung tissue and exposure levels of airborne asbestos equal to or greater than 25 fibers per milliliter of air a year. This level is typical of shipbuilding and construction work.
Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer and Asbestosis
Asbestosis and lung cancer are commonly associated. This is because the risk for both rises as asbestos fibers accumulate in lung tissue.
The presence of asbestosis is a reliable diagnostic marker that a patient was exposed to asbestos enough to develop lung cancer.
However, an individual does not necessarily need asbestosis to develop asbestos related lung cancer.