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What other cancers are caused by asbestos?

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer with one known cause: exposure to asbestos. Although rare, many people are aware of this type of cancer.

What is less known is that asbestos exposure can cause other types of cancer, as well. While chemically harmless, asbestos can wreak havoc on the body when ingested or inhaled. Asbestos is known to be carcinogenic at many different sites in the human body.

Let’s take a look at a few of the cancers that can be caused by asbestos exposure:

  • Mesothelioma: This type of cancer affects the outer lining of the lungs, or the mesothelium. When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they can enter and remain in the mesothelium, because the lymphatic system is unable to clear them. This can cause chronic inflammation which can ultimately lead to cancer. Mesothelioma can affect other areas of the body as well, including the heart, abdomen, and testicles.
  • Lung cancer: Mesothelioma affects the outer lining of the lungs, and lung cancer affects the lungs directly. Workers who have been exposed to asbestos have an increased risk of lung cancer. Smokers who have been exposed to asbestos are much more likely to develop lung cancer than those who do not smoke. In fact, these individuals have a 50 to 84 times greater risk for developing lung cancer.
  • Laryngeal cancer: Individuals who have been exposed to asbestos have a 40 percent greater chance of developing cancer of the larynx.
  • Kidney cancer: There is a causal relationship between asbestos exposure and kidney cancer, especially among insulators, shipyard workers, and those working with asbestos products.
  • Gallbladder cancer: Individuals who have been exposed to asbestos on the job have an increased risk of developing gallbladder cancer.
  • Esophageal cancer: Studies show an association between asbestos exposure. Smokers who have been exposed to asbestos have a higher risk of developing cancer of the esophagus.
  • Colorectal cancer: Evidence suggests but does not definitely prove that asbestos exposure causes colorectal cancer.
  • Gastrointestinal cancer: Asbestos exposure is known to minimally increase an individual’s chances of developing stomach cancer and other gastrointestinal cancers.

Asbestos exposure causes other types of diseases as well, such as asbestosis and pleural disease, which both affect the lungs.

If you or a family member have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another type of cancer caused by asbestos exposure, learn about your rights and legal options in a free consultation with an attorney.

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