How Do Asbestos-Related Diseases Develop?

When most people think about asbestos-related diseases and asbestos awareness, well-known conditions such as lung cancer and mesothelioma come to mind. But there are also benign asbestos related conditions as well as other cancers. For these reasons, asbestos testing and remediation has been done in many buildings.

In part, lung cancer and mesothelioma resulting from asbestos exposure, have become more recognized due to television commercials. You may not know, however, that cancer of the ovaries and larynx (voice box) can also be caused by asbestos.

In fact, fewer cancerous conditions are caused by asbestos than are benign conditions! The conditions caused by asbestos that are classified as noncancerous can range from nonthreatening and mild to life-threatening and severe. When these conditions are present, people coping with them have, fortunately, experienced an improved quality of life through the latest medications and treatments.

So that you or someone you know can be aware of asbestos-related diseases and conditions, we are going to increase your familiarity with them below.

Pleural Diseases Which Are Benign

Lung tissue is affected by lung cancer and asbestosis. Specifically, these diseases involve the lining of the lungs, as do other conditions related to asbestos. Mesothelioma affects the pleura as a cancerous disease. However, also developing in the lining of the lung, several benign conditions can be caused by the inhalation and exposure to asbestos.

Asbestos Related Hand Condition

“Clubbed fingers” is a condition related to severe asbestosis, occurring in approximately 50% of those with the affliction. The tips of fingers may take on a boxlike appearance, becoming swollen and misshapen. Rather than directly being caused by asbestos fibers, it occurs due to the biological effects of asbestos.

Once developed, and they do so early, club fingers don’t go away.


Inhibiting the health and function of the lungs is a progressive pulmonary disease referred to as asbestosis. This causes the formation of scar tissue because of asbestos inhalation and the accumulation of asbestos fibers within the lungs. Eventually, elasticity in the lungs is limited due to hardening caused by scar tissue.

As the condition progresses, breathing becomes painful and difficult. The oxygen supply to the bloodstream is also affected due to lung impairment from scarring. To control symptoms, pain medication and oxygen tanks are usually needed by patients.

Cancer of the Larynx

In combination with alcohol consumption, smoking most often causes laryngeal cancer. However, cancer of the voice box (larynx) can be caused by asbestos exposure. While inhaled asbestos fibers are on their way to the lungs, they lodge in the voice box. Radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and/or surgery may be used to treat various stages of this type of cancer.

Cancer of the Ovaries

More than any other reproductive cancer in females, more deaths are caused by ovarian cancer. A 2012 study showed that ovarian cancer can be caused by asbestos exposure. Ovarian cancer was documented in cases where women’s husbands or fathers worked with asbestos! In theory, by a woman’s lymphatic system, fibers are transported to the ovaries.

Used for hygiene, asbestos contaminated talc (talcum powder) has also been associated with some cases of ovarian cancer.

Inspect for Asbestos to Avoid Diseases Related to It

The smartest thing you can do to avoid asbestos-related diseases is to schedule an asbestos inspection and, if need be, abatement. The specialists at Iris Environmental Laboratories offer affordable asbestos and mold testing and inspections.

Don’t wait another minute. Asbestos-related diseases are nothing to take lightly. Contact us today for more information.