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How does asbestos cause lung cancer?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Asbestos is a mineral that is made up of tiny fibers and can be found naturally in the environment. It was often used to make building materials in the United States. If a person is exposed to large amounts of asbestos, the fibers can eventually get stuck in their lungs and cause problems. These problems include damage to the cells that make up the lungs, as well as damage to the cells that line the chest and abdomen. Once these cells have been damaged, they might change and become a cancer. Cancers linked to asbestos are slow to develop, and it may be 15 to 30 years from the time asbestos accumulated in the lungs to the time the cancers are diagnosed.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.