Asbestos lung cancer – Asbestos as the main trigger

Asbestos lung cancer – Asbestos as the main trigger

Pleura means a thin skin that lines the chest from the inside and also covers the lungs. That is why it is also called pectoral or pleura. The pleural mesothelioma refers to the tumor that emanates from this skin. The cause is more than 90% of the cases of previous contact with asbestos, which is why this material may no longer be processed.

Asbestos lung cancer disease

The mesothelioma actually grows slowly, but quickly spreads to the lungs, chest wall and other adjacent organs. The condition may include shortness of breath, coughing, respiratory chest pain, weight loss, and water in the lungs.

Asbestos lung cancer Epidemiology

After contact with asbestos, years pass until a tumor occurs. However, as there has been a ban on asbestos processing since 1995, the incidence of morbidity among men under the age of 65 is now declining significantly, while it is still rising for over-75s. The mean age of onset is currently 73 years in both sexes. Overall, pleural mesothelioma in 2012 is still a rare tumor in Germany with 1,560 new cases (men: 1,260, women: 300) per year.

Asbestos lung cancer risk factors

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was used until its prohibition, inter alia, as an insulating material and fire protection. At a certain size, inhaled asbestos fibers can no longer be controlled by the body’s own defense system and then accumulate permanently in the lung tissue. From there they are deposited in the pleura. Affected by this are mainly occupational groups such as locksmiths, welders, electricians, plumbers, roofers, masons, construction workers, tilers and automotive technicians. Tobacco use increases with exposure to asbestos  , the risk of a pleural mesothelioma increases enormously.

Asbestos lung cancer subdivision

The pleural mesothelioma is divided into three forms based on its tissue characteristics. Epithelioid pleural mesothelioma is most common. The cells grow a little faster, but stay connected, causing the tumor to spread late.

The sarcomadoide pleural mesothelioma consists of cells that are not interconnected. Metastases develop rapidly, which is why the prognosis is very poor.

The biphasic pleural mesothelioma is a mixed type of the two first mentioned. The tumor behaves according to which cell type is mainly present.

Asbestos lung cancer  Diagnostics and therapy

A diagnosis of pleural mesothelium is usually difficult. First indications are the clinical symptoms and the occupational history with indications of asbestos contact. The  X-ray of  the lungs may also show thickening of the pleura. Often occurs belgian a fluid accumulation (pleural effusion) between the two parts of the pleura. To confirm the diagnosis,  pleural tissue is obtained during  thoracic endoscopy (thoracoscopy) or bronchoscopy for accurate examination. This shows the deposited asbestos fibers.

The pleural mesothelioma is difficult to treat. If the tumor is confined to one side, one half of the lung, along with the pleura, can be  surgically  removed. The tumor can also be  irradiated  or  treated with  chemo . In most cases, this does not lead to a cure. The therapy is usually only a measure of life extension and improvement of the general condition.

Asbestos lung cancer forecast

The prognosis of the pleural mesothelioma is very bad. The  relative 5-year survival rates  of 9% in males to 17% in females show the aggressiveness of the tumor. Despite early screening of risk groups by the statutory accident insurance, these figures could not be significantly influenced.

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