Asbestos Lung Cancer Risk, asbestosdefinition.com | How do you determine the asbestos lung cancer risk? We all know that we should not inhale asbestos fibers, which are often in building materials such as shingles, floor coverings, and insulation. However, how can you tell if you have been exposed to asbestos?
The most common way of estimating the risk of contracting asbestos-related diseases is to review the historical records of lung cancer incidence rates in surrounding areas. Is it fair to estimate asbestos lung cancer risk by looking at a handful of buildings from several decades ago?
It certainly isn’t. In fact, the excess incidence rates of lung cancer and mesothelioma were much greater than expected in nearby neighborhoods. In this case, estimating the risk of asbestos-related disease requires using statistics.
However, there is an additional method for determining the risk from asbestos exposure that uses a much more powerful and accurate comparative analysis.
This method, which is available from the U.S. National Cancer Institute, calculates the ratio of the asbestos-related incidence rate to the total population. By comparing the actual number of cases to the average population, it becomes possible to compare different periods of time.
As we have already mentioned, the incidence rate is the primary risk factor to consider. That is, the higher the incidence rate, the higher the risk for asbestos-related diseases.
Since the incidence rate is relatively low in our modern society, it is also helpful to know that many people who have been exposed to asbestos do not contract asbestos-related diseases.
However, there is another risk that isn’t so easily measured. Fortunately, there is a reliable system for measuring the risks of exposure to asbestos. This risk, also known as biological efficiency, is the percentage of asbestos-related diseases caused by the asbestos particles.
A high biological efficiency indicates that asbestos exposure has caused a high number of diseases. Not surprisingly, the higher the biological efficiency, the lower the incidence rate. Asbestos-related diseases that aren’t linked to asbestos fibers, such as asbestosis and lung cancer, are included in the calculation of biological efficiency.
Asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma and lung cancer, are not linked to asbestos fibers, such as this cancer causing mineral. What is it about asbestos fibers that lead to asbestos-related diseases? The best method to answer this question is to study the fibers and identify any distinctive characteristics that cause the fibers to become embedded in the body.
Since the asbestos fibers that are involved in the development of mesothelioma and lung cancer are so small, it is difficult to identify the precise spots on the body where the fibers embedded. However, they typically stick together in the bronchial and lymphatic systems, with the resulting accumulation of the fibers located in the chest and abdominal cavities.
Once the fibers are embedded in the airways, the risk of suffering from serious lung diseases such as emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and chronic bronchitis increases exponentially. This is the reason why the historical data is so important for estimating the asbestos lung cancer risk.
In the previous article, we explained that the best method for estimating the risk of asbestos exposure is to use the statistical average of the historical data from nearby areas to calculate the risk. This method requires performing several calculations that are necessary for determining the risk from asbestos exposure.
After applying the statistical approach, the risk becomes evident and can be estimated to a greater degree of accuracy. Therefore, it is advisable to include the historical data when assessing the risk of asbestos exposure.