Louisville construction workers who have handled or otherwise been exposed to asbestos have often developed severe health problems in the years that followed. Small fibers of asbestos can become embedded in the lungs, leading to a number of serious diseases, including a deadly form of cancer called mesothelioma. While this form of cancer is rare, its development is predominantly linked to asbestos exposure on the job. Of course, not every worker who handles asbestos develops mesothelioma, although their health may be endangered in other ways.
Researchers say that genetic variations may lead some exposed workers to become more likely to develop mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure. They scanned 84 patients with mesothelioma using a gene sequencing program to look for potential genetic issues that could make them more likely to develop cancer. They found that 12% of the mesothelioma patients had a genetic concern that could make it more difficult to repair damage done to cell DNA, which could make cancers more likely to grow and spread. However, the majority of the mesothelioma patients scanned did not have this type of DNA mutation. All of the patients had similar health conditions and clinical developments over time.
The researchers said that those with the gene mutation were more than twice as likely to have at least two close relatives with cancer. Almost all mesothelioma cases are linked directly to asbestos exposure, typically in the workplace and over a longer period of time, although any exposure to the fibers can prove to pose a health risk.
Asbestos exposure at work can lead to long-term health consequences, even for those who do not develop cancer. People suffering from lung diseases and other medical problems due to toxic exposure may consult with an attorney about how they can seek compensation.