Which conditions are caused by asbestos exposure at work?

Once considered a miracle insulating material across the construction and engineering industries, asbestos is now known predominantly as the substance which claims around 5,000 lives per. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), up to 20 workers, and former workers, per week die in the UK from an asbestos-related disease as a result of exposure to the deadly fibres in the course of their career.

If you have suffered asbestos exposure at work and have now received a diagnosis of an asbestos-related disease, you may be able to claim compensation. To find out more about how the industrial disease solicitors at Asbestos Claim Centre could assist you, please click here.


Men are five times more likely to be diagnosed with mesothelioma than women, largely due to the predominance of males working in construction and heavy industry, where the use of asbestosis was widespread until it was banned.

This condition is a type of cancer affecting the mesothelial cells which cover the chest, lungs and abdomen. Mesothelioma sufferers are generally diagnosed many years, sometimes decades, after initial exposure.

The prognosis for mesothelioma sufferers is not good, as in many cases the condition is diagnosed too late for treatment or removal of the cancer to be effective. Once diagnosed, most patients live for a period of months; however, if the industrial disease is diagnosed at an early stage, chemotherapy and radiotherapy can be used to slow the cancer and control associated symptoms.

Asbestos lung cancer

Asbestos-related lung cancer is often mentioned in the same breath as mesothelioma; however, this type of cancer is similar to the lung cancer caused by smoking. It can, therefore, sometimes be difficult to determine whether lung cancer has been caused by asbestos exposure at work or another factor.

Research suggests that asbestos-related lung cancer deaths are as high as mesothelioma fatalities.


Typically, asbestosis causes irreversible damage to the lungs following exposure to asbestos. It is usually diagnosed long after inhalation of the substance takes place and so much damage has usually occurred.

Its debilitating symptoms, such as shortness of breath, fatigue and chest pain, have a weakening effect on sufferers and as a result prognosis can vary from patient to patient depending on their state of health at the outset.

Plus, individuals with asbestosis have a greater chance of developing other asbestos-related diseases, which may shorten life expectancy.

Pleural thickening

Pleural thickening occurs as result of inhalation of asbestos fibres. The fibres lodge in the pleura, the covering of one or both lungs, and cause hardening which results in breathing difficulties.

Depending on the severity of the condition, sufferers of pleural thickening may experience a range of symptoms, including reduced respiratory function and chest pain.

Am I at risk?

It is easy to think that asbestos exposure at work is a problem of the past, but if you have worked in any of the industries known for using asbestos or in a place where asbestos containing materials are present, you may be at risk.

Asbestos fibres stay in the body for many years and symptoms of the associated diseases may only become apparent many years later. However, any worker who has built, refurbished or carried out maintenance work in a premises constructed before 2000 could be at risk.

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis or pleural thickening as a result of asbestos exposure at work then you may be entitled to compensation. Contact us today on 0800 508 8747 to discuss your claim.

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