Lung Cancer and Exposure to Hazardous Substances
Cancer of the lungs is a type of malignant tumor that starts in the lungs. According to research, this disease is the cause of about 160,000 deaths in the United States each year. While smoking is recognized as the most common cause of cancer of the lungs, working with or being near particular hazardous materials can also lead to cancer.
Approximately 87% of patients who develop lung cancer do so as a result of smoking or second hand smoke. The remainder of the victims develop and die of lung cancer due to exposure to dangerous substances. One of these hazardous materials is asbestos, a carcinogen that is known to lead to asbestos lung cancer. Asbestos-related lung cancer claims the lives of almost 5,000 people annually in the U.S.
Causes and Symptoms of Lung Cancer
Outside of the 160,000 victims who lost their battle with lung cancer, there are several who have the cause of the disease misidentified. According to the Mesothelioma Information and Research Group (MI&G), research supports that smoking increases the likelihood of asbestos-related lung cancer by ten times. Exposure to asbestos, alone, increases the risk of lung cancer by five times.
Some common symptoms of lung cancer that patients experience include:
- Chronic chest pain;
- Persistent cough that worsens over time;
- Pneumonia or bronchitis that returns;
- Coughing up blood;
- Tight chest, shortness of breath or hoarseness;
- Unexplained loss of appetite or weight loss; and
- Extreme exhaustion.
If your doctor is considering lung cancer as a possible diagnosis, her or she may likely analyze sputum under a microscope looking for cancerous cells. In order to confirm the disease, however, a tissue sample from the lungs must be used. This sample can be obtained through the following:
- Bronchoscopy: A thin, light tube that has a light is inserted in the nose or mouth, goes down the windpipe, and is used to look at a patient’s breathing passages;
- Thoracentesis: A needle is used to extract the fluid that surrounds the lungs;
- Needle Aspiration: A needle is inserted into a tumor for the purpose of withdrawing fluid and tissue cells; or
- Thoracotomy: The patient undergoes surgery that opens the chest cavity and is sometimes essential to confirm the lung cancer diagnosis.
Several different tests may be used to determine the stage, which describes how much or little the cancer has spreads to the surrounding organs. Some include computed tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), radionuclide scanning, bone scan, and mediastinoscopy/mediastinotomy.
Lung Cancer Attorneys
If you or someone you love has developed lung cancer as a result of exposure to a hazardous substance, you may be entitled to legal compensation for your injuries. The skilled lawyers at Napoli Shkolnik PLLC have years of experience litigating these types of cases on the local and national stage. Click here today to schedule your initial consultation.