Asbestos Safety Manual

13 Asbestos Safety Manual Environmental Health and Safety Mesothelioma is a cancer of the covering of the lung or lining of the chest or abdominal cavities. It is the rarest form of the asbestosrelated diseases. This disease is always rapidly fatal, usually within a year after diagnosis. There is a direct relationship between smoking and the risk of developing Mesothelioma. The latency period is usually 25 to 30 years for Mesothelioma. Lung Cancer is now responsible for roughly one-half of the deaths that occur from past asbestos exposures. Lung cancer usually begins as a tumor in the lower lobes of the lungs. Generally, the earliest symptom is the development of a persistent cough or change in chronic cough. Later symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, pain, and general weakness. Other cancers have been noted in a very small number of individuals who are occupationally exposed to asbestos. These tumors are cancers of the gastrointestinal tract. Contact the American Cancer Society for more information about asbestos-related cancers. Smoking and Lung Cancer The combination of asbestos exposure and smoking greatly increases the risk of developing lung cancer. Smoking in combination with asbestos exposure does not just double the risk, but multiplies it many times in a synergistic effect. Asbestos workers are approximately five times more likely to develop lung cancer than the general population. Smokers are ten times more likely to develop lung cancer than the general population. A person who works with asbestos and also smokes is likely to have a 90 times greater risk of contracting lung cancer. Smoking Cessation Resources Available in Story County Comparative Cancer Risk 1x 5x 10x 90x General Population Asbestos Workers Smokers Smoking Asbestos Workers