Asbestos is a carcinogen linked to numerous diseases. If you’ve visited our website before, then you likely know the mineral is the only proven cause of mesothelioma.

However, asbestos also causes lung cancer. November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, which is an opportunity to educate people on the asbestos-caused type of this disease. We at Mesothelioma Guide can explain how asbestos-caused lung cancer forms, how prevalent it is and the relevant risk factors to know. Below are 10 unique facts about asbestos-caused lung cancer (a disease commonly shortened to “asbestos lung cancer”).


Asbestos Lung Cancer Kills Thousands Each Year

According to the website Asbestos Nation, this particular asbestos disease is quite ordinary compared to others. The website states that asbestos lung cancer is linked to between 8,500 and 11,000 deaths each year in the United States.


Experts First Linked Asbestos and Lung Diseases Back in the 19th Century

According to a report in the American Family Physician, inhaling asbestos fibers was connected to lung disease way back in 1890. The first death attributed to exposure was in 1907. Despite a century-old link to deadly diseases, asbestos has not been banned in the United States.


There Are Multiple Types of Asbestos Lung Cancer

There are two types of asbestos lung cancer: small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. The majority of asbestos lung cancer cases are the non-small cell variety. According to the American Cancer Society, only around 15% of patients have small cell asbestos lung cancer.


Asbestos Lung Cancer Has a Long Latency Period

Asbestos enters the lung cavity and irritates cells on the organ. However, the actual cancer doesn’t form until more than a decade later. The latency period for asbestos lung cancer is between 15 and 40 years.


Occupational Exposure is the Top Risk for Asbestos Lung Cancer

According to the World Health Organization, around 125 million people are exposed to asbestos through their occupation. This method of interacting with the mineral is the most common way people develop asbestos lung cancer.


Veterans Comprise the Largest Group of Asbestos Lung Cancer Patients

Americans who served in the U.S. military are at a high risk of having or soon developing asbestos lung cancer. The reason is simple: The military relied on asbestos for decades in building everything from barracks to ships. Anything the military wanted to protect from fires likely included asbestos — and still may even in 2019.


Smoking Increases the Risk of Developing Asbestos Lung Cancer

The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine showed how the combination of smoking and asbestos exposure increased the chances of developing lung cancer. According to a study of more than 55,000 workers, asbestos interaction for non-smokers increased their risk of lung cancer by five times. The risk of developing lung cancer was 28 times greater for smokers who were exposed to asbestos.


Many Asbestos Lung Cancer Patients Have Survived Numerous Years

According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 19% of lung cancer patients survive for at least five years. The best route to achieving the longest survival time is through high-quality, multimodal treatment.


The List of Treatments for Asbestos Lung Cancer Is Growing

Treatment options for asbestos lung cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and immunotherapy. Keytruda, which is the brand name for pembrolizumab, is a popular immunotherapy drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for this disease.


Financial Help Is Available to Asbestos Lung Cancer Patients

Asbestos was considered a magic mineral for the majority of the 20th century. The mineral is cheap to produce, easy to find and can protect products and buildings from fires. However, asbestos is also a danger to hard-working Americans’ health. People who worked with this substance were put in harm’s way regularly to preserve profits.

If you have asbestos lung cancer, then you can receive financial assistance. We at Mesothelioma Guide can provide a list of resources available to you and your family. One such option is seeking compensation for your disease, which is the fault of money-hungry corporations.

Our team can explain your options in more detail. For assistance, email our patient advocate and registered nurse Jenna Campagna at If you’d like to know more about Lung Cancer Awareness Month, you can visit the Lung Cancer Foundation of America website.

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    Sources & Author

  1. Asbestos exposure, asbestosis, and smoking combined greatly increase lung cancer risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from: Accessed: 11/04/19.
  2. Lung Cancer Treatment Advances. Lung Cancer Research Foundation. Retrieved from: Accessed: 11/04/19.
  3. Cancer Stat Facts: Lung and Bronchus Cancer. National Cancer Institute. Retrieved from: Accessed: 11/04/19.
  4. Asbestos. World Health Organization. Retrieved from: Accessed: 11/04/19.
  5. Asbestos kills 12,000-15,000 people per year in the U.S. Asbestos Nation. Retrieved from: Accessed: 11/04/19.
  6. Asbestos and Cancer Risk. American Cancer Society. Retrieved from: Accessed: 06/24/19.
  7. Key Statistics for Lung Cancer. American Cancer Society. Retrieved from: Accessed: 11/04/19.
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About the Writer, Devin Golden

Devin Golden is the content writer for Mesothelioma Guide. He produces mesothelioma-related content on various mediums, including the Mesothelioma Guide website and social media channels. Devin's objective is to translate complex information regarding mesothelioma into informative, easily absorbable content to help patients and their loved ones.