What is asbestos related lung cancer?

We often get asked about asbestos-related lung cancer, what it is, can they claim even though they smoked? Because of this, we have tried to answer some of our most commonly asked questions! 

Q. What is asbestos-related lung cancer?

Apart from mesothelioma, there is no particular type of lung cancer which is exclusively caused by exposure to asbestos dust. Both non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer can be caused by exposure to asbestos dust.

Q. Can I succeed with a claim for asbestos-related lung cancer even though I smoked?

Even if you were a smoker, it is possible that asbestos exposure has contributed to your lung cancer. This is because of the risk of developing lung cancer increases in direct proportion to the level of your exposure to asbestos dust.

There is no clinical means of distinguishing between lung cancer caused by asbestos and lung cancer caused by smoking. However, there is clear evidence that if you have smoked and been exposed to asbestos dust your risk of lung cancer is significantly increased.

Q. Do I need to have asbestosis to have asbestos-related lung cancer?

The presence of other asbestos-related diseases such as asbestosis, asbestos-related pleural plaques or asbestos-related diffuse pleural thickening can indicate that the lung cancer has been caused by exposure to asbestos dust.

Historically, it was presumed that lung cancer could not be caused by asbestos exposure unless asbestosis was also present. However, research has confirmed that asbestos-related lung cancer can occur without the presence of asbestosis.

Q. Is there a minimum level of exposure to asbestos dust before asbestos-related lung cancer can be diagnosed?

Whether or not your lung cancer can be attributed to asbestos exposure will also depend upon the level of your exposure to asbestos dust. In order to pursue a claim for compensation for asbestos-related lung cancer you must be able to show very heavy exposure to asbestos dust for a short period of time, or moderate exposure to asbestos dust for a long period of time.

Q. How much compensation will I receive for asbestos-related lung cancer?

The amount of compensation awarded for asbestos-related lung cancer will depend upon the individual circumstances of the case. However, general damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity are generally awarded at between £61,410 and £85,340 (JC Guidelines July 2018). On top of this, a claim can also be made for care and assistance, travel, loss of income and any other losses that have been incurred as a result of the lung cancer.

You should bear in mind that if you have also been a smoker, there may be a deduction to your compensation to reflect the fact that your smoking has also contributed to the lung cancer.

If you would like to talk to one of our specialist solicitors about the possibility of bringing a claim, with no obligations to take matters further then email the team at idclaims@boyesturner.com.

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