Asbestos is a fiber-like material used in building materials found on job sites for decades. Exposure to asbestos can cause a wide range of diseases, like mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis, among many others. Those who worked with asbestos regularly at their jobs run a higher risk of getting sick. Thankfully, financial compensation may be available for those with asbestos-related diseases.

Which Diseases Are Caused by Asbestos?

Asbestos exposure can cause many types of diseases, including malignant (cancerous) ones and benign (noncancerous) ones.

Diseases caused by asbestos include:

  • Mesothelioma
  • Asbestosis
  • Lung cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Intestinal cancer
  • Pleural plaques or thickening
  • Rectal cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Throat cancer
  • Other cancers and dangerous diseases

Makers of asbestos-based products knew their goods could harm human health back in the 1930s. However, they hid the deadly health effects of asbestos to keep making money until the truth came out in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Those who worked on asbestos job sites are at a higher risk of getting sick. Thankfully, people with asbestos-related diseases can pursue health care and financial aid.

Learn if you qualify for compensation right now.

Malignant Asbestos-Related Diseases

Asbestos is a carcinogen (cancer-causing material) that has been linked to a wide range of cancers.


Malignant mesothelioma forms when someone inhales or swallows asbestos fibers, which then get stuck in the linings of major organs. The fibers never leave and irritate the body for decades, eventually causing cancer tumors to develop.

The only known cause of mesothelioma is asbestos exposure.

In most cases, the cancer forms in the lung lining (pleura), but it can also develop in the lining of the abdomen (peritoneum), the heart lining (pericardium), and even the testicle lining (tunica vaginalis).

Most pleural mesothelioma patients regularly worked with asbestos-containing materials at their jobs, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).

Mesothelioma symptoms can vary depending on where tumors form, but often include shortness of breath, pain in the chest or chest wall, a chronic cough, and weight loss.

There is no known cure for mesothelioma, and the cancer is highly aggressive. However, treatments can help patients live longer if they’re diagnosed before the cancer spreads.

Help is available if you were diagnosed with mesothelioma after working with asbestos-containing materials. Call (866) 304-8889 now to see how you can get financial care and medical aid.

Asbestos Lung Cancer

If asbestos fibers get lodged in the lungs, those affected can develop asbestos lung cancer.

Like cases of mesothelioma, it takes decades for asbestos fibers to cause lung cancer tumors to develop. Symptoms of asbestos-related lung cancer are also similar to those of mesothelioma (cough, chest pain, weight loss).

That said, other factors besides asbestos exposure – such as smoking – can put people at an increased risk of lung cancer.

Other Cancers Caused by Asbestos

Lung cancer and mesothelioma are just two forms of cancer linked to asbestos. Asbestos fibers can also make their way to other parts of the body, like the larynx or ovaries, and cause cancer.

Other asbestos-caused cancers are also very aggressive and can be deadly if left untreated.

Other asbestos-related cancers include:

  • Colon cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Throat cancer
  • Laryngeal cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Intestinal cancer
  • Rectal cancer
  • Ovarian cancer

Did you get sick after working with asbestos? We can help you access medical care and financial compensation. Call (866) 304-8889 now to get started.

Noncancerous Asbestos-Related Diseases

Those exposed to asbestos can develop other illnesses besides cancer. Many of these asbestos-related conditions are dangerous or even deadly.


Asbestosis is a lung disease that develops after asbestos fibers get trapped in the lungs, causing damage and scarring. The condition worsens over time, making it harder to breathe as the lung damage worsens.

Asbestosis has similar symptoms to asbestos lung cancer and mesothelioma, like breathing problems and chest pain. It also has unique symptoms; for example, those affected may develop clubbed fingers or toes (in which the tips start to bulge out).

The American Lung Association (ALA) notes that those who worked in industries like mining and manufacturing are at a high risk for this asbestos-related disease.

Asbestosis can’t be cured, but the use of an oxygen tank, exercise, and other treatments can slow its progression.

Pleural Plaques & Thickening

Pleural plaques are buildups of a protein called collagen within the lining of the lungs. They look like chalky lines or clouds in a chest X-ray.

Unlike many other asbestos-related diseases, pleural plaques are thought to be harmless. They usually don’t cause any symptoms, so people can have them for years without knowing.

However, those who have pleural plaques could be at risk of other diseases since they were exposed to asbestos.

For example, those with pleural plaques may also have pleural thickening. Pleural thickening occurs when the lung lining has been scarred due to years of irritation from asbestos fibers.

Pleural thickening can lead to trouble breathing, but the symptoms are often mild when compared to other asbestos-related diseases.

Other Noncancerous Illnesses Caused by Asbestos

Asbestos exposure can also cause many other health problems if fibers get stuck in lung tissues, the lung lining, or other parts of the body.

Other asbestos-related diseases include:

  • Atelectasis: This occurs when part or all of the lung collapses. In some cases, part of the lung may collapse and look like a cancerous tumor. This is known as round atelectasis and usually occurs in those with asbestosis.
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): COPD is a blanket term for many respiratory diseases that limit lung function. Patients with pleural mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer often have COPD as well.
  • Pleural Effusion: This is a buildup of fluid in the lung lining. Doctors can drain the fluid to ease pain and help patients breathe easier. If the pleural effusions keep coming back, patients can get a catheter installed to drain the fluids from home.

Help for Those With Asbestos-Related Diseases

Asbestos-related diseases can be devastating and remain a public health crisis. Nobody expected to develop cancer or another dangerous illness from simply doing their job.

Thankfully, help is available for those affected by asbestos-related diseases. Patients and their families often qualify for financial compensation to cover medical bills and other expenses after a diagnosis.

This money comes from the makers of asbestos products, who knew the health risks of their products but hid them for decades to keep profits high.

See if you qualify for compensation right now.

FAQs About Asbestos-Related Diseases

Will everyone exposed to asbestos get sick?

No. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) note that only some who are exposed to asbestos will get sick.

Doctors still don’t know why some will get sick and others will not. That said, occupational exposure to asbestos is a big risk factor.

How do doctors diagnose asbestos-related diseases?

Doctors can use different tests to diagnose someone with an asbestos-related illness. In many cases, they first perform a physical exam and ask about the patient’s symptoms.

They may also need to perform imaging scans (such as a chest X-ray) to look for abnormalities like tumors inside the body.

If doctors think a patient has cancer, they’ll take a biopsy. A biopsy is a sample of tissue or fluid that’s analyzed under a microscope to see if cancer cells are present. It’s the only way to confirm a diagnosis of cancer.

Make sure to tell your doctor if you were ever exposed to asbestos, or lived with someone who was. This can be a big help when trying to make a diagnosis.

How can I get help for my asbestos-related disease?

You can get medical and financial help if you have mesothelioma or another asbestos disease by working with our team.

The health risks of asbestos exposure were hidden by major companies for decades. We want to help you get financial aid from the companies that harmed you. This can help you and your family members afford medical care.

Call (866) 304-8889 or chat with our team now to get started.

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Not sure where you were exposed?

We may still be able to help. After over 40 years of pursuing justice for people with asbestos-related diseases, we have an extensive database of asbestos sites that can help us narrow down where you were exposed. Contact us today to find out if you qualify for compensation.