Although lung cancer will usually develop slowly, it’s still deadly. Once the lung cancer occurs, the cancer cells can break away and will spread rapidly to the other parts of the body. In the case of asbestos lung cancer, it generally starts occurring in the lining of the bronchi, which is the main tube into which the trachea or windpipe divides.
The asbestos lung cancer could also start in other areas like the alveoli (lung air sacs), bronchioles (small branches of the bronchi), and trachea. The early stage of the asbestos lung cancer might be asymptomatic, which means that the cancer won’t show any presence of symptoms, or it may only have a few symptoms. Among the conventional methods used to diagnose asbestos lung cancer include taking phlegm (spit) samples, biopsies, and imaging tests.
Some of the early symptoms will only be present in about 15% of lung cancer cases, and among the early symptoms shown include bloody or rust-coloured sputum (phlegm or spit), weight loss, hoarseness, chest pain, and persistent cough. However, it’s also possible that the symptoms shown could be indicating other hidden diseases. A full physical examination is warranted if your doctor suspects you of having asbestos lung cancer.
At some time, doctors will also take a sample of the patient’s phlegm (spit). The patient’s phlegm will then be examined under a microscope to find out whether the cancer cells are present.
In most cases, a pathologist will take a tissue sample or biopsy in order to confirm whether or not the asbestos lung cancer is present. Among the types of biopsies include Mediastinoscopy, Thoracotomy, Thoracentesis, needle aspiration, and Bronchoscopy.
Most of the time, diseases like lung cancer will require its patients to go through a complete surgery and chemotherapy in order for them to recover and get better health-wise. To treat a patient with asbestos lung cancer, the treatment will usually depend on the patient’s health, preferences, the extent of the tumor, location, the type of lung cancer (small cell lung cancer or non-small), and the size. Treatments include surgery and radiation.
Chemotherapy will result in the patient being weak from the exposure to radiation. Immunity to diseases are expected to be reduced too as the vital cells are also damaged during the treatment. However, chemotherapy is effective as a cure for asbestos lung cancer and intervention at the right time can save the patient’s life.