Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer associated with prolonged exposure to asbestos. Most patients who develop mesothelioma work or have worked in jobs such as manufacturing and construction, where there is or was a regular exposure to asbestos.
Mesothelioma usually develops in the lining of the lungs. Its symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, and coughing. These can also be symptoms of lung cancer, which is caused by smoking. Smoking has not been found to have a significant impact on an individual’s risk of developing mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos when particles of powdered asbestos lodge in the lungs and cause tumors to develop. It does not matter if an individual smoked during the period of time that they were exposed to asbestos or in the years that followed. It is the presence of the asbestos, not the presence of cigarette or other smoke in the lungs, that causes mesothelioma to develop.
Cigarette smoking is the top cause of cancer deaths in the United States and asbestos exposure is the most common cause of occupational cancer deaths. However, these causes and their respective cancers exist independently of each other.
Smoking and Mesothelioma Symptoms
Although smoking does not cause mesothelioma, it can make the symptoms of mesothelioma worse. It can also increase an individual’s risk of developing other asbestos-related illnesses, such as asbestosis.
One of the ways smoking can exacerbate mesothelioma symptoms is by damaging the cilia – the tiny hairs inside the lungs’ airways that brush out foreign particles. When the cilia are damaged, particles, like asbestos fibers, can accumulate in the lungs faster, progressing the individual’s disease and making their symptoms worse. Symptoms can also worsen through the development of scar tissue around the asbestos fibers in the lungs.
Smoking also damages and eventually destroys the alveoli – the tiny air sacs in the lungs that transfer oxygen from inhaled air to the bloodstream. When the alveoli are damaged, the symptoms of any asbestos-related condition can become more severe.
Asbestosis is the technical name for fibrosis caused by asbestos exposure. When enough scar tissue develops in the lungs and makes it difficult for the patient to inhale, they have a condition known as pulmonary fibrosis, which can be a case of asbestosis.
Philadelphia Mesothelioma Lawyers at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler Assist Smoking and Non-Smoking Victims of MesotheliomaIf you or someone you love has been impacted by mesothelioma, contact a Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyer at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler. To set up an initial consultation, complete our online form or call 215-569-4000 or 800-369-0899. For more than three decades we have served the people of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey as well as Delaware County, Chester County, and Philadelphia County.