Lung cancer can be caused by exposure to asbestos dust, although there is no way of determining the precise cause, particularly if the sufferer is also a smoker. Medical evidence suggests that there must be heavy exposure to asbestos to cause lung cancer and the amount of dust is similar, or even greater, than that necessary to cause Asbestosis.
Employers have a duty to protect their workers from hazardous substances and if you have developed a lung condition as a result of your working environment, then you may have a claim for compensation.
The common symptoms of lung cancer are a persistent or changing cough, breathlessness, blood in the sputum, pain in the chest, wheezing from the affected side of the chest and weight loss. Where the tumour has spread outside the lungs, the first symptom may not come from the chest at all and may in fact be shown through liver jaundice, bone pain or fracture, skin lumps or nerve or brain damage affecting walking, talking, behaviour or memory.
Until recently, most doctors would only accept that asbestos exposure had caused lung cancer if the sufferer had also been diagnosed with Asbestosis. It is known that a smoker is at far greater risk of suffering lung cancer than a non-smoker and, similarly, a worker exposed to asbestos dust is at a far greater risk of contracting lung cancer than someone who is not exposed. However, a worker who smoked and who was also exposed to asbestos is at a greatly increased risk of suffering lung cancer (some studies have assessed the risk at up to 50 times greater than those who did neither).
What this means is that if you have been exposed to a heavy dose of asbestos dust and smoked cigarettes, the Court is likely to find that the lung cancer has been caused by the combined effect of the two substances. This means that you will still recover compensation for your disease, although the Court may well reduce the amount to reflect the fact that your smoking has also played a part in causing the condition.
If you have been diagnosed with lung cancer and believe that it is as a result of working with asbestos, complete our Online Enquiry Form and one of our lawyers will contact you to discuss how you can make a claim for your injuries.