Asbestos-related Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the UK. It is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells, which do not develop into healthy lung tissue, and divide rapidly to form tumours.

Smoking is the most common cause of lung cancer, but there are other recognised causes, such as exposure to asbestos dust and fibres.

What is Asbestos-related Lung Cancer?

Asbestos-related lung cancer develops after inhaled asbestos fibres become trapped in the lungs. Over long periods of time, the fibres cause inflammation and damage to the lung tissue. After many years, often decades, the asbestos fibres cause enough irritation and cellular damage to cause the growth of tumours.

Research has found a clear association between high levels of asbestos dust exposure and the risk of lung cancer. This exposure has to have been regular and over a long period of time.

Who is at risk of developing asbestos-related lung cancer?

Asbestos-related lung cancer develops in people who have had high levels of exposure to asbestos over many years.

People who had jobs such as boilermakers, laggers, fitters, joiners and shipbuilders are more likely to have been exposed to the amount of asbestos required to develop asbestos-related lung cancer.

Who can make a claim for asbestos-related lung cancer?

If you are suffering with asbestos-related lung cancer and have been diagnosed within the last 3 years, you can possibly make a claim for financial compensation.

It is important to note that the 3 year limitation period for making a personal injury claim for asbestos-related lung cancer starts from the date you were first diagnosed with the disease, rather than when you were exposed to asbestos, which could have been as long as 50 years ago.

How do you claim for asbestos-related lung cancer?

If you have been diagnosed with asbestos-related lung cancer, it is important to get in touch with Birchall Blackburn Law today to start your claim. Call our industrial disease team on Freephone 0800 783 8485 or fill in our contact form here and we will get in touch with you.

Our experienced asbestos-related lung cancer solicitors and industrial disease team will guide you through the civil compensation claims process, taking on all responsibility to let you and your loved ones focus on what matters most.


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Asbestosis is a form of lung disease caused by breathing in asbestos dust.

Asbestosis occurs in individuals who have had high levels of prolonged asbestos exposure over many years.

The inhaled asbestos fibres permanently damage the alveoli (the air sacs which supply oxygen to the blood stream) in the lungs.

Click here for more information on asbestosis.
The pleura – a thin membrane that covers the inside of the rib-cage and the outside of the lungs – is made up of two layers and produces a fluid to help the lungs move smoothly as we breath.

When this fluid builds up, this is known as a pleural effusion.

One of the known causes of pleural effusions is exposure to asbestos dust and fibres. If a person does develop a pleural effusion due to asbestos exposure, it will not develop until 10 – 50 years after the exposure to asbestos has occurred.

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Pleural thickening refers to the thickening of the lining of the lung, called the pleura – a thin membrane that covers the inside of the rib-cage and the outside of the lungs.

The disease usually progresses slowly and, in most cases, remains stable.

Diffuse pleural thickening is when the pleura thickens to the extent that it can restrict breathing and causes breathlessness. This disease is frequently, but not exclusively, caused by exposure to asbestos dust.

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Pleural mesothelioma is an incurable cancer that affects the lining of the lungs. Less commonly it can affect the lining of the abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma) or the heart (pericardial mesothelioma).

Nearly all cases of mesothelioma are caused by exposure to asbestos dust. The disease and associated symptoms only present themselves many years after the asbestos exposure occurred.

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Pleural plaques are small areas of localised scarring or calcification found on the pleura – the lining of the lungs and rib-cage.

It only takes minimal exposure to asbestos dust and fibres to cause pleural plaques to develop.

In almost all cases of pleural plaques there are no symptoms and they cause no problems to long term health, which is why in England and Wales there is no compensation available for developing them. Pleural plaques simply indicate that there has been exposure to asbestos.

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Hand-arm vibration syndrome, also known as vibration white finger, is a common industrial injury caused by regular and extended use of vibrating tools.

Hand-arm vibration syndrome affects the joints, blood vessels and nerves around the hand and wrist. The most common symptoms are a tingling, numbness or pain in the fingers, and sometimes a loss of dexterity in the hands, making it hard to grip.

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Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is a general term for soft-tissue injuries caused by repetitive activity.

It commonly develops in people whose work involves repetitive tasks, and can make daily tasks, such as driving or getting dressed, difficult.

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Irritants found in the workplace, such as chemicals, glues and dusts, have the potential to cause painful skin conditions.

There are different types of occupational skin diseases, the most common work-related skin disease is industrial dermatitis, which is caused by exposure to certain allergens.

Click here for more information on occupational skin diseases.
Occupational lung diseases, such as silicosis, occupational asthma and asbestosis, are caused by breathing in harmful substances and irritants like silica, chemical fumes and asbestos.

There are certain industries which are linked to higher percentages of workers developing respiratory and lung diseases, including the mining, construction, ship building, insulation and chemical refinement industries.

Click here for more information on occupational lung diseases.
Occupational deafness, otherwise known as noise induced hearing loss, develops while working in a loud or noisy workplace without the right protection.

The damage from the noise could take many years to become serious, but could also happen more quickly.

Age, or general fitness, are no protection – young people can be damaged just as easily as the old.

Click here for more information on occupational deafness.


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