Asbestos Related Disorders

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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Asbestos-related disorders facts

  • Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has been linked to human lung disease.
  • All forms of asbestos increase the risk of lung disease.
  • The three types of asbestos-related lung disease are scarring (asbestosis), non-cancerous disease of the tissue of the lining of the surface of the lung (pleural disease), and lung cancer (of the lungs or their outer lining tissue [mesothelioma]).
  • Asbestosis is a process of lung tissue scarring caused by asbestos fibers.
  • Asbestos is the only known risk factor for malignant mesothelioma, a cancer that affects the tissue lining the lung (pleura) or abdomen (peritoneum).
  • The time between exposure to asbestos and the development of cancer can be anywhere from 10 to 40 or more years.
  • Smoking appears to increase the frequency and/or the rate of progression of asbestosis.
  • Diagnosis of asbestosis or asbestos-related lung diseases and cancer is often made using chest X-rays or CT scans of the lungs.
  • Treatment of asbestos-related diseases includes appropriate vaccinations, treatment of lung infections, smoking cessation, and the use of oxygen if necessary.
  • If asbestos is suspected in a building, an expert in asbestos abatement should be consulted for inspection, correction, and maintenance.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/7/2015

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