Asbestos Now Linked to Cancer of the Ovaries and Larynx

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was used for many years as an industrial insulation material. In the late 1970’s physicians began to notice similar health conditions among those who worked with or were exposed to asbestos. Asbestos exposure seemed to predominantly affect the respiratory system and those exposed often developed asbestosis (chronic breathing condition similar to emphysema) and mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer associated almost solely with asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma is an aggressive and difficult to treat cancer and luckily it is relatively rare.

Now, recent evidence suggests that asbestos exposure may be associated with other malignancies in addition to mesothelioma, most notably ovarian cancer and cancer of the larynx. In fact, the World Health Organization now claims that there is “sufficient evidence” that those exposed to asbestos are at greater risk of these types of cancer. Asbestos irritates the internal tissue and sticks to the lining of the body’s internal organs, often causing damage over a period of several years. While the majority of ovarian and larynx cancer is not caused by asbestos, the WHO estimates that nearly 125 million people across the world are still exposed to asbestos, elevating an unnecessary risk in the general population.