Asbestos and Throat Cancer
Exposure to asbestos was first linked to an increased risk of throat cancer in 2006 in a study published in the Institute of Medicine in 2006. Throughout the last several years studies continue to support the link between asbestos and throat cancer.
When the small asbestos fibers are breathed in, they can become lodged in a person’s throat, windpipe, or the tubes connecting the windpipe and lungs (bronchi). Over decades, the fibers remain in the body and cause irritation, which eventually turns healthy cells into cancerous ones.
There are several types of throat cancer, including:
- Pharyngeal cancer, which develops in the pharynx or throat, causing a sore throat and swelling in the neck
- Laryngeal cancer, which develops in the larynx or voice box, causing voice changes and difficulty breathing
Both types of throat cancer can be caused by asbestos exposure, especially among those who worked in high-risk asbestos occupations. In addition to throat cancer, exposure to asbestos can also cause asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer.
Lung Cancer Group may be able to help you access compensation if you were exposed to asbestos and developed throat cancer or another asbestos-related disease. See if you are eligible with a free case review today.
- Access Financial Aid and Justice
- Learn About Your Options
- Contact Us for Free
Risk Factors for Asbestos Throat Cancer
While anyone could potentially get throat cancer, certain people are at an increased risk for developing it if they were exposed to asbestos.
Risk factors for asbestos throat cancer include:
- Consuming excessive alcohol
- Having bad oral hygiene or a bad diet
- Serving in the U.S. military
- Smoking cigarettes
- Working in construction or as an electrician, shipyard worker, or welder
A person’s chances of developing throat cancer increase with each decade they work in a high-risk occupation, according to a study published in Occupational Environmental Medicine.
Signs and Symptoms of Throat Cancer
Throat cancer can cause multiple symptoms, depending on how far the cancer has spread and what type of throat cancer it is.
Symptoms of asbestos throat cancer include:
- Changes in voice
- Chronic sore throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Ear pain
- Lump in the throat
- Persistent hoarseness
- Shortness of breath
- Unexplained weight loss
If you are experiencing these symptoms and have a history of asbestos exposure, talk with your doctor as soon as possible to begin testing for throat cancer.
Diagnosing Asbestos Throat Cancer
To diagnose throat cancer, doctors will use a number of tests and screenings.
These tests include:
- Physical examination: A patient will describe symptoms and medical history to their doctor during an examination.
- Imaging tests: The care team will order a chest X-rays and CT scans of the head and neck. A laryngoscopy, which uses a camera attached to a long tube to examine the throat and voice box, is also a common diagnostic procedure for throat cancer.
- Biopsy: If abnormal growths are detected in imaging scans, doctors will want to take samples in a fluid or tissue biopsy to confirm whether or not the cells are cancerous.
If you were diagnosed with throat cancer, Lung Cancer Group may be able to help you access financial assistance for medical expenses. Contact us now to see how we can help.
Stages of Asbestos Throat Cancer
Throat cancer has five stages, beginning with stage zero.
The stages of throat cancer are:
- Stage 0: When abnormal cells have been detected in the throat.
- Stage 1: When a tumor is present that is smaller than 2 cm and has not spread to the lymph nodes.
- Stage 2: When the tumor measures between 2 and 4 cm, but it has not yet spread to the lymph nodes.
- Stage 3: When the tumor measures over 4 cm or has spread to the lymph nodes on the side of the neck where the tumor is located.
- Stage 4: When the cancer has spread to distant parts of the body, including multiple lymph nodes or one large lymph node.
The stage that a person’s cancer is in when they are diagnosed plays a large role in their treatment and overall prognosis (health outlook).
Asbestos Throat Cancer Prognosis
The prognosis, or expected outlook, for throat cancer will depend largely on the stage of the cancer and how early it is detected and treated.
About 50% of patients who are diagnosed with throat cancer in its early stages will be able to enter remission (when the cancer has stopped growing and spreading), according to Mount Sinai Medical Center.
On the other hand, if it is caught in the late stages after it has already passed into lymph nodes or distant parts of the body, the cancer is less likely to enter remission.
Asbestos Throat Cancer Survival Rate
Throat cancer survival rates depend on the type of throat cancer and the stage the cancer was in when it was first diagnosed.
The 5-year survival rate for someone with stage 1 laryngeal cancer is 84%. In more advanced stages, the 5-year survival rate is about 45%.
Pharyngeal cancer may have a less positive survival rate, because it is often detected later than other throat cancers.
In early-stage pharyngeal cancer, the 5-year survival rate is 61%. The 5-year survival rate for more advanced stages is 28%.
However, these numbers are only estimates, and some throat cancer patients can live for many years with treatment.
Asbestos Throat Cancer Treatment Options
There are a few different options for treating throat cancer. Which type of treatments will be used on a patient depend on the stage and which part of the throat it’s in.
Treatment options for throat cancer include:
- Radiation therapy: Using high-energy beams, this treatment can kill cancer cells in small throat cancer tumors.
- Surgery: Surgeries like layngectomy and pharyngectomy remove tumors and other cancerous tissues from the neck and throat.
- Chemotherapy: Using drugs to kill cancer cells, chemotherapy is often used in combination with other treatments if the throat cancer has metastasized (spread) to other parts of the body.
- Targeted therapy: This treatment targets the genes and proteins of cancer cells to help destroy tumors. One drug, cetuximab (Erbitux), blocks a protein in throat cancer cells, making them unable to divide and spread.
- Immunotherapy: This therapy boosts a person’s immune system to target and attack cancer cells. It is typically only used to treat advanced-stage throat cancer that has not responded to other treatments.
Some oncologists (cancer doctors) will first recommend radiation therapy to kill throat cancer cells before pursuing surgery. If the cancer does not respond well to these treatments, then they will move on to other treatment options.
If your throat cancer was caused by asbestos, you may be eligible for financial assistance which can help you cover the cost of throat cancer treatment. See how Lung Cancer Group can help with a free case review today.
- Access Financial Aid and Justice
- Learn About Your Options
- Contact Us for Free
Asbestos Throat Cancer Compensation Options
Throat cancer treatment can be expensive, even with health insurance. For those whose cancer was caused by asbestos, financial assistance could help pay for treatment and offer stability to their family.
Asbestos throat cancer compensation options include:
- Asbestos trust fund claims: Asbestos-containing product manufacturers created asbestos trust funds to compensate those who got sick from their dangerous products. By filing a claim, people may be able to access some of the $30 billion still in trusts today.
- Asbestos lawsuits: Lawsuits seek to hold manufacturers responsible for the harm their asbestos products caused and secure compensation for the people affected. Some lawsuits for other asbestos cancers can secure hundreds of thousands of dollars for victims and their families.
- Veterans claims: Veterans who were exposed to asbestos during their service may be eligible to file claims for benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Some benefits could include monthly disability payments and access to VA health care.
Find Support After an Asbestos Throat Cancer Diagnosis
If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with throat cancer and you believe it could be related to asbestos exposure, Lung Cancer Group may be able to help.
Living with asbestos-related throat cancer comes with a lot of medical expenses and other high costs, but many of these bills can be covered through an asbestos throat cancer claim or lawsuit.
See how we can help with a free case review now.
Asbestos Throat Cancer FAQs
Can asbestos cause throat cancer?
Yes, asbestos can irritate cells in the throat and windpipe and become cancerous over time. The most common type of throat cancer that can be caused by asbestos is laryngeal cancer.
How long does it take for asbestos infection to develop into cancer?
While every case is different, it generally takes between 10 and 50 years for a case of throat cancer to develop after exposure to asbestos. Further, even a single asbestos fiber can cause throat cancer later in life.
If you were exposed to asbestos decades ago and now have throat cancer, call (877) 446-5767 to find out how to get help.
What are the symptoms of asbestos throat cancer?
Asbestos throat cancer can have different symptoms depending on the stage and which part of the throat it affects.
Symptoms can include a sore throat, hoarseness, changes in a person’s voice, a persistent cough, and difficulty swallowing.
What cancers are caused by asbestos?
Asbestos is a known carcinogen and causes multiple types of cancer — including throat cancer, mesothelioma, and lung cancer. There is no safe level of asbestos exposure, and even one instance of exposure can increase someone’s risk of cancer.
How much compensation do you get for asbestos throat cancer?
Every asbestos throat cancer case is different, and compensation amounts will vary depending on factors like how the person was exposed and the severity of their illness.
For example, some asbestos lung cancer cases will award hundreds of thousands of dollars in settlements. The best way to determine how much your case is worth is to work with a trusted asbestos lawyer.