Asbestos Cancer – Lung Cancer, Mesothelioma and Other Diseases

There are a number of asbestos cancers, which can develop many years after you have inhaled or swallowed microscopic asbestos fibres.

Often, when people refer to ‘asbestos cancer’, they mean mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer which develops in the lining of some internal organs. Most commonly, it develops in the lining of your lungs. However, it can also develop in the lining of your stomach or in your testicles.

There are also a number of other asbestos related cancers. These include lung, ovarian and voice box cancer. People who are exposed to asbestos can also develop non-cancerous diseases. These diseases include pleural thickening, asbestosis, pleural effusions and pleural plaques. You can read more about these diseases by clicking the links.

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a fibrous mineral which was used extensively in construction and manufacturing in the UK, until it was banned in 1999. It was used widely because of its desirable properties, which include resistance to heat, fire and electricity, and sound absorption. Asbestos is still used in many countries around the world. Sadly, Russia, China, Brazil, Kazakhstan and India all continue to produce and use asbestos.

What are the symptoms of asbestos cancer?

Depending on the type of asbestos cancer you have, your symptoms may vary. However, common symptoms of asbestos-related cancer include:

  • A persistent cough (this is a cough that you have had for more than 3 weeks);
  • Chest pain;
  • Extreme tiredness (fatigue);
  • Pain or swelling in your stomach;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Nausea;
  • Weight loss;
  • Shortness of breath.

If you know that you have been exposed to asbestos you should speak to your GP so that they can make sure you have regular check-ups. Often, the symptoms of asbestos cancer are not noticeable until the cancer has reached a later stage.

Diagnosing asbestos cancer:

Diagnosing your asbestos cancer may involve you undergoing numerous tests. If your GP suspects that you could have cancer they may refer you to a specialist. Your medical team may use a combination of blood tests, scans, and biopsies to provide you with a sound diagnosis.

A blood test may identify changes in your blood which suggest the presence of cancer. Scans may include x-rays, CT scans and PET scans, which all help doctors to see tumours which could be present inside your body. A biopsy involves removing a sample of the affected tissue which they believe could be cancerous. For example, to diagnose pleural mesothelioma, a surgeon may take a sample of the tumour from the lining of your lung.

Are you at risk of asbestos cancer?

People who have worked in certain jobs were more likely to come into contact with asbestos. Therefore, if you have worked in the following professions or sectors in the past, you could be at a greater risk of developing asbestos cancer:

  • Engineering;
  • Carpentry;
  • Construction;
  • Factory work;
  • Lagging;
  • Shipbuilding;
  • Electrical work;
  • Plumbing;
  • Joinery;
  • Mechanics;
  • Firefighting.

Generally, men aged 60 or over are more likely to develop asbestos-related cancer. In the UK, the peak age for mesothelioma cases is 80-84 years. However, it is important to remember that anyone can develop an asbestos-related disease after being exposed to asbestos.

According to Cancer Research UK, the lifetime risk of developing mesothelioma is around 1 in 140 for men and 1 in 710 for women.

Compensation and financial support for asbestos cancer:

If you have asbestos cancer, you may be eligible for financial support and could claim compensation.

We are experts who can help you to claim compensation against your past employer if you have an asbestos disease. We can also help you to apply for various benefits and governmental lump sums of compensation, including:

  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit;
  • Attendance Allowance;
  • Personal Independence Payments;
  • Making a claim for governmental compensation under the Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979;
  • Making a claim under the Mesothelioma Act 2008 scheme;
  • Making a claim under the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payments scheme.

Importantly, if you make a civil claim for compensation with us, you are often likely to receive much more money than you would through benefit and governmental schemes.

How can we help?

If you would like some free initial advice, please call our Freephone number today on 0800 038 6767. You can also speak to us via our livechat using the button below, or fill in our contact form here.