Asbestos: the other cause of lung cancer Asbestos: the other cause of lung cancer

Asbestos: the other cause of lung cancer

Sets 3 December, 2016 Ana María López de Mesa


Exposure to asbestos, radon and other agents such as radioactive minerals or chemical substances all contribute to the development of lung cancer.

While tobacco continues to be the main cause of this disease, other agents such as those mentioned above are also important risk factors.

Asbestos in particular has been classified as a human carcinogen. Its fibers are released in the air and they become lodged in the lungs, creating a layer that makes it difficult to breathe and causing serious health problems.

Asbestos becomes a greater risk for those that are exposed to this material frequently either in their homes, workplaces or in the region where they live. Workers from the construction and mining sectors and from the automotive industry, among others, are among those that can be most affected, depending upon the specific circumstances of their work duties.

According to the National Cancer Institute from the United States, the challenge is that people who have asbestos-related diseases generally do not show symptoms until much after their initial exposure. “It can take 10 to 40 years before symptoms from an asbestos-related condition appear.”

See your physician if you experience one or several of these symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath, wheezing or hoarseness
  • A constant cough that worsens over time and coughing up blood
  • Weakness and muscle pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dysphonia
  • Weight loss and difficulty swallowing food