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Can asbestos cause lung cancer?

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Dear doctor, my mother passed away about 5 years ago, due to lung cancer. She was a smoker. About 7 years before her diagnose she used to breath in asbestos (I doubt so) from an old piece of chimney which was accidentally put in her room. It was and old chimney and I doubt it contained asbestos. I also doubt that this might have added to the chance of lung cancer in her. I also stay in the same house and am very much worried that it might be the same fate awaiting me.  Are there any further causes for her disease?

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Category: Internal Medicine Specialist
 21 Doctors Online

Lung cancer is the most spreading cancer which causes most of the deaths in US. Smoking is the greatest causative of lung cancer. Chances of getting lung cancer and smoking are proportional. That means chances of getting affected increases with increase of number of cigarettes smoked. The fortunate side is that risk factors of smoking get reduced when a smoker starts quitting smoking. Within a few years, he will be completely risk free from lung cancer caused by smoking. Long term exposure to asbestos also causes lung cancer. But this chance of getting affected is exponentially higher in those who smokes and is also exposed to asbestos. It is better to have a chest X-ray to find whether you are currently affected or not. Remember, chest X-rays cannot be used to identify presence of asbestos fibres in lungs. But it will surely help in identifying lung disorders. 

Dr. Steve Merris
Category: Internal Medicine Specialist
Medical School - New York University
Internship in Internal Medicine - Beth Israel Medical Center
Residency in Internal Medicine - Beth Israel Medical Center
Fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine - Columbia University Medical Center
Dr. Steve Merris and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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