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Gastrointestinal Cancer and Asbestos Exposure
It is estimated that 10,000 Americans die each year from diseases related to asbestos exposure.
Several deadly cancers have been directly linked to exposure to asbestos including mesothelioma and some lung cancers. However, there is another, less common form of cancer that has been connected to the toxic mineral and that is gastrointestinal cancer.
Despite there being no proven casual relationship between asbestos exposure and gastrointestinal cancer, many experts agree that there is a strong link between occupational exposure and development of the cancer.
For example, a study conducted by the Cancer Registry of Norway found that lighthouse keepers who drank water tainted with asbestos particles had an elevated incidence of stomach cancer. Researchers found that the results support a link between ingestion of asbestos and some gastrointestinal cancers.
According to the findings of another study, all workers who have been exposed to asbestos show an elevated risk for developing stomach and gastrointestinal tract cancers.
Asbestos exposure is insidious. As in mesothelioma, symptoms of gastrointestinal cancers linked to asbestos exposure take a long time to become apparent and it is difficult to diagnose. It can often take decades for symptoms to appear. Studies show that having gastrointestinal cancer increases a person’s risk for eventually developing cancers of the stomach and other regions of the body.
There are several factors that can affect one’s level of risk for developing gastrointestinal cancer. The level of occupational exposure to asbestos is one of the largest issues, as is the daily exposure to asbestos fibers. As these factors increase, so does the risk.
Lifestyle factors can also affect risk. A previous diagnosis of cancer and a patient’s overall health can play roles in the ability to overcome a diagnosis of cancer. Smokers who are exposed to asbestos fibers are much more likely to develop a cancer than those who don’t.
Symptoms of Gastrointestinal Cancer
Gastrointestinal cancer can affect a number of important organs and, though symptoms often take a long time to appear, the cancer can metastasize fairly quickly. Usually the early stages of the disease reveal few signs and symptoms, but once the cancer spreads, some common symptoms may include:
- Abdominal pain and discomfort
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Severe weight loss
- Weakness and fatigue
It is vital that you consult with a physician immediately if you experience any of these symptoms of gastrointestinal cancer.
Doctors diagnose asbestos-related diseases with the help of a number of a number of medical tests, including a physical exam, review of medical history, urine tests, blood counts, and a variety of imaging scans. These scientific methods are the best ways to determine the presence of gastrointestinal cancer.
If you you or a loved one is suffering from a cancer like this and suspect that asbestos exposure is involved, contact a physician and an experienced mesothelioma lawyer for professional insight. These professionals can help asbestos victims seek proper treatment and compensation for undue illness.