The link between smoking and lung cancer is so prevalent in our minds that it is easy to wonder: Does smoking cause mesothelioma? Some people think that it does, but that is not true. Read on to learn about the complex relationship between smoking and mesothelioma.
The Truth Behind this Question: Does Smoking Cause Mesothelioma?
The short answer is no.
The National Cancer Institute reports that smoking “combined with asbestos exposure does not appear to increase the risk of mesothelioma.”
Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer that forms predominantly in the lining of the lungs, but it can also appear in other locations, such as the lining of the abdomen or heart. The disease has only been proven to be caused by asbestos. While smoking can cause many detrimental health effects, no one has evidence at this time that smoking causes mesothelioma.
How Smoking May Impact Mesothelioma and Lung Cancer
Now that the answer to the question, “does smoking cause mesothelioma?” has been answered, we’re left to explore a more complicated question: How can smoking impact the development of mesothelioma or other lung disease?
Healthy lungs have cilia, tiny hair-like structures in the lining, to force impurities out. Smoking is associated with damage and shortening of cilia, making it harder for the lungs to remove threats like asbestos fibers. For this reason, if smokers are exposed to asbestos, their lung cancer risk increases substantially.
In addition, asbestos and tobacco smoking cause inflammation in the lungs, and inflammation can lead to cancer. The double exposure to inflammatory substances is troublesome, but smoking also weakens the body’s immune system, potentially worsening inflammation.
Most Important Take-Away About Smoking and Mesothelioma
Anyone who has worked in a high-risk job involving asbestos should maintain regular checkups because early detection is essential. Because smoking damages the lungs and their protective cilia, a smoker in a high-risk job should be especially proactive about checkups.
It is also important to be familiar with symptoms of the onset of mesothelioma and to not try to treat them at home. Many people confuse the symptoms of mesothelioma with other less serious conditions and wait too long for treatment. This cancer is very aggressive and is too often discovered when the disease is advanced and prognosis is grim.
Does smoking cause mesothelioma? No, but it does weaken the lungs and can contribute to lung problems, including lung cancer. Everyone who has worked in a high-risk job should be proactive about their health, and smokers are no different.
Smokers, in particular, must be especially watchful when it comes to lung diseases such as mesothelioma and lung cancer. It is crucial to have regular checkups and seek treatment for symptoms of mesothelioma as soon as they appear.
The bottom line is that asbestos can be harmful to everyone, including smokers. Just because a person smokes does not mean that he or she cannot be compensated for contracting mesothelioma.
When you have questions about asbestos exposure and your legal rights, contact the asbestos attorneys at the Nemeroff Law Firm. We’ve handled many cases for clients who were smokers and who developed mesothelioma. Contact us today for a free case consultation.