Posted on May 08th, 2020
In most basic terms, cancer refers to cells that grow out-of-control and invade nearby tissues and form tumors. Cells may become cancerous due to the accumulation of genetic mutations in their DNA. Occupational asbestos exposure can also damage DNA and induce tumor formation.
Differentiated cancer is a term used to describe how much or how little tumor tissue looks like the normal tissue it came from. Differentiation is used in tumor grading systems, which are different for each type of cancer, and helps healthcare providers make a prognosis, and allows for comparison of treatment results.
It is well-known that cigarette smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer. However, up to 15% of individuals diagnosed with lung cancer have never smoked or used any other form of tobacco.
Exposure to cancer-causing agents such as asbestos in the workplace is mostly responsible for this portion of lung cancer cases.
Cancer hazards related to inhalation of asbestos fibers exist not only for asbestos workers engaged in the direct and regular production of asbestos-containing materials but also for the large number of individuals who sustained such contact on an incidental basis.
Such persons may have been employed in operations where asbestos-containing products were handled during repair or maintenance work in a manner which may produce airborne asbestos, and therefore, inhale the air polluted with asbestos dust:
Diagnosis of asbestos-related lung cancer is based on a history of substantial asbestos exposure and clinical evidence of pulmonary fibrosis caused by the longtime inflammation and scarring due to asbestos fibers and the presence of ancillary findings, such as pleural plaques or diffuse pleural thickening.
The four main categories of cancer affecting the lungs recognized in most classifications based upon the cytologic features of the tumors are:
The clinical symptoms of lung cancer depend largely on the anatomic location of the tumor and its size, for example:
Cancer cells that have more genetic damage usually grow faster than cancer cells with less genetic damage. Differentiation is the grade of cancer, which is based on how abnormal the cells look under the microscope.
The following terms are assigned by a pathologist based on the appearance of tumor cells:
In well and moderately differentiated tumors, the glandular structures are easily demonstrated on routine microscopy. Tumors that have well-differentiated cancer cells tend to be less aggressive. Simply put, these cancers are less likely to grow and spread quickly and have a better prognosis.
In undifferentiated or poorly-differentiated carcinomas, cells are very immature and "primitive" and look and behave very differently from normal cells in the tissue they started to grow in. Tumors that are undifferentiated or poorly differentiated tend to be more aggressive; they tend to grow more quickly, spread more often and have a worse prognosis than tumors with well-differentiated cancer cells.
Physicians use to determine tumor grade to figure out how slowly or quickly lung cancer may be growing. The important thing about tumor grade is that it determines the appropriate treatment, helps healthcare providers make a prognosis, and allows for comparison of treatment results.
Tumor grade is described with a number between 1 and 4, depending on the amount of abnormality or/and as low grade or high grade. The number refers to the degree of differentiation: the lower the number, the lower the grade, respectively, the higher the number, the higher the grade.
High-grade cells appear distinctly abnormal under the microscope and are more likely to grow and spread faster than low-grade tumors. Tumors are graded as follows:
If you have been diagnosed with asbestos-related lung cancer, your treatment plan will start with a pathologist's review of your biopsy. The pathologist notes what the cancer cells look like, how they compare to normal cells, and whether they have spread to nearby tissue.
Pathology reports use technical medical language that may be difficult for patients to understand, thus, it is important to discuss the results with your doctor. Relevant pathology notes found across several medical records of patients with lung cancer include:
Between 1940 and 1980, millions of American workers were exposed to asbestos on the job. With the dire prognosis that follows, victims must act quickly when seeking compensation. Diverting focus from medical care to filing a claim can be extremely challenging, and that is why our dedicated attorneys will handle all aspects of your claim so you can focus on recovering without the added legal stress. Since time is of the essence for asbestos-related lung cancer patients, we will prioritize your claim for expedited processing so you can receive the compensation you deserve.
The effects of asbestos-related lung cancer can be devastating and victims will need as much support as possible to help them cope with the consequences. If you have been exposed to asbestos and developed lung cancer or other serious illness as a result, contact our lawyers today. The knowledgeable attorneys at Environmental Litigation Group P.C. will thoroughly review your medical records, work history, or service history, in order to determine your eligibility to receive compensation to help pay for the high cost of lung cancer treatment and provide financial security for your family. When a person with asbestos-related cancer who starts a compensation claim dies before the conclusion of the claim, a family member can continue the claim on his or her behalf.