It’s been clear for decades that exposure to asbestos can cause some type of malignant mesothelioma, whether pleural, peritoneal, or pericardial. Indeed, there’s too much evidence for anyone to dispute the fact that inhalation of asbestos fibers can definitively cause these particular type of cancers, but a few other cases have doctors wondering whether or not there’s an asbestos link to kidney cancer. Exposure might contribute to the development of renal cell carcinoma, the most common form of kidney cancer.
Recently, a report in an Italian medical journal, penned by doctors at the Scientific Institute of Pavia, proposes this connection. In the report, Candura et al cite the case of a 76-year-old patient who had worked for 7 years with asbestos cement. After complaining of left flank pain for quite some time, he was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma. The kidney was removed.
However, just a year after the surgery to excise the kidney, the patient complained of severe abdominal pain and was subsequently diagnosed with the peritoneal form of mesothelioma – that which affects the lining of the abdomen. He passed away two months later.
In their writings, the Italian doctors hypothesized about the two cancers and their connection.
“This is the second reported case of association between renal cell carcinoma and peritoneal malignant mesothelioma in the scientific literature,” suggested Stefano Candura, the lead author of the study. “Asbestos might be involved in the causation of both malignancies.”
No one truly knows all of the far-reaching effects of exposure to asbestos. It now seems possible that it may also be somehow connected to the development of kidney cancer and there are possibilities that it may be linked to other cancers as well, though studies have not been extensive enough to make that determination.
It is likely that oncologists will be on the lookout for more connections as writings like the one in the Italian medical journal come to the attention of the global oncology world in general.
The only way to avoid the development of asbestos-caused cancer(s) is to avoid exposure to the toxic mineral. For many, that opportunity passed long ago. Thousands upon thousands of individuals were unnecessarily exposed to the mineral while working in a variety of occupations in many different industries including:
- Steel mills
- Power plants
- Textile mills
And many others
Decades later, the affected individuals are seeing their retirement years marred by serious illness. Their quality of life has dwindled and, in many cases, their families are left with burgeoning bills associated with their treatment. No wonder so many are turning to the possibility of filing a lawsuit against those who were responsible for their (or their loved one’s) asbestos exposure.
It is the most logical way to seek retribution against those who could have made other choices regarding asbestos use but didn’t, preferring to continue the use of the toxic substance, saving a few dollars and putting workers at constant risk.