Getting Educated About Lung Cancer and Asbestos

By Dr. Adam Alpers, D.O.


Many people do not realize that tobacco products are not the only carcinogenic substances in our environment. There are many pollutants in the air that can easily cause serious damage to lung cells. If individuals in your neighborhood or work area have lung cancer, it may be of some benefit to reassess your own risk for developing this particular disease.


Even a few small dust particles that have asbestos in them can cause lung cancer. Not long ago, asbestos was used in automobile brake linings. Each time these brakes were used, small particles of asbestos dust were released onto the highway and into the air. This is just one reason why you should avoid walking on dusty streets, or other areas where break lining debris may have been deposited.


At the current time, the escalating number of asbestos related cancers is being attributed to exposure that occurred several decades ago. Nevertheless, one cannot ignore the fact that each person may still come into contact with asbestos particles on a daily basis. In fact, you may even be surprised that there are a number of other hidden sources of asbestos in your environment.


Over the last few years, natural or stone jewelry has become very popular. In particular, the luster and shine of the red, blue, and brown Tiger Eye. Oddly enough, that beautiful shine comes from asbestos fibers housed within the jewelry. It may be of some benefit to avoid Tiger Eye jewelry that has not been sealed with some type of polyurethane or other coating. If you have ever held natural Tiger Eye, then you will recognize that it has a distinct odor. Many people do not consider that some of those microscopic particles may be bits of asbestos. It is very important to realize that there will always be a bit of excess dust after a stone is polished.


In many cases, doctors can tell the difference between lung cancers caused by asbestos and ones caused by other carcinogenic substances. The best thing you can do is make sure that you stay away from sources of asbestos dust. You should also make sure that you have yearly lung cancer screenings in order to detect tumors as quickly as possible. Make sure you are getting your annual chest x-ray and when necessary, a chest cat scan; early detection can save your life.