It is possible to pull apart asbestos into flexible fibres. Our bodies often cannot degrade or expel microscopic asbestos fibres if we inhale or swallow them. These fibres continue to cause inflammation and genetic changes for many years. There can be cancer due to these genetic changes. Your risk of developing cancer after exposure to asbestos fibres can increase as a result of different lifestyle factors. Heavy alcohol use, poor dietary habits and smoking are some of them. In most cases, there is a link between occupation exposure and asbestos-related disease. It is found that half of all cancer deaths happen due to asbestos. Cancer can also develop due to secondhand and environmental asbestos exposure. Lung cancer, ovarian cancer, laryngeal cancer and mesothelioma are the four types of cancer, which develop due to asbestos exposure. The best oncologist in Kolkata tells us more about this.
Those people, who have a history of asbestos exposure, should seek regular cancer screenings. The following symptoms may indicate the presence of cancer.
- Chest pain, shortness of breath and coughing: These symptoms indicate the presence of pericardial mesothelioma, pleural mesothelioma and lung cancer in the body.
- Abdominal changes: If there are digestion issues, swelling and pain, changes in bowel habits and nausea, they can indicate stomach cancer, ovarian cancer, colon cancer and peritoneal mesothelioma.
- Reproductive and sexual differences: The symptoms of ovarian cancer are menstrual changes, fatigue, back pain and pain during sex.
- Throat changes: Having difficulty in swallowing, persistent hoarseness and feeling the need to clear your throat often can mean that you have laryngeal cancer and pleural mesothelioma.
The only type of cancer that mainly develops from asbesto exposure is mesothelioma. In the pleura (lining of the lungs), there is the formation of about 70% to 75% of mesotheliomas and in the peritoneum (lining of the abdomen), nearly 20% of mesotheliomas form. There is the development of cancer in the lining around the heart or testes.
Asbestos-related lung cancer can take as many lives as mesothelioma. The primary cause of almost 4% of lung cancer cases is asbestos exposure. The risk of developing lung cancer increases a lot when there is a combination of smoking and asbestos exposure.
Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are normally linked to laryngeal cancer. When inhaled asbestos fibres pass through the trachea (windpipe) on the way to the lungs, they can settle in the voice box and this can ultimately lead to laryngeal cancer.
It has been found that a cause of ovarian cancer is asbestos exposure. How exposure to asbestos dust causes ovarian cancer is still under research. Some are of the opinion that contact with asbestos can happen from the personal hygiene products containing asbestos-contaminated talcum powder.
Diagnosis and Treatment
A cancer doctor in Kolkata looks inside the body for tumours with the help of X-rays, CT scans, MRIs and PET scans. He/she can find abnormal blood cell counts through blood tests. The doctor can determine the type of cancer from biopsy results. The doctor can use colonoscopy for collecting a biopsy to diagnose colon cancer. He/she can use chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, immunotherapy or multimodal therapy for treatment.