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Asbestos-Related Cancers

Exposure to asbestos can lead to a variety of cancers. The most common type of asbestos-related cancer is mesothelioma, which is often called “asbestos cancer.” Other types of cancer caused by asbestos include cancers along the tissue linings of the lungs, heart, and abdomen.

Asbestos Cancer in the Lungs

Mesothelioma is often referred to as “asbestos cancer” because the only known cause of mesothelioma is asbestos exposure. However, this does not mean that asbestos exposure always leads to mesothelioma.

When asbestos exposure does lead to mesothelioma, the exposure causes malignant cells to form in the tissue lining that surrounds most of the body’s internal organs. This lining is known as the mesothelium.

Although asbestos cancer can occur in tissue linings throughout the body, the most common site is in the mesothelium surrounding the lungs. This type of cancer is called pleural mesothelioma.

Other Types of Asbestos-Related Cancers

Although pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of cancer related to asbestos exposure, other types of cancer may also be the result of asbestos exposure. These include the following:

  • Peritoneal mesothelioma, in which cancer forms in the tissue lining the abdomen
  • Pericardial mesothelioma, in which cancer forms in the tissues lining the heart
  • Lung cancer, in which the cancer does not form in the lining but in the organ itself

Contact Us

The relationship between asbestos exposure and cancer contraction can be a complicated issue. If you have any questions regarding asbestos or mesothelioma, fill out the asbestos/mesothelioma question form on the Mesothelioma & Asbestos Help Center web site.

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