Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has been linked to human lung disease. All forms of asbestos increase the risk of lung disease. The three types of asbestos related lung disease are scarring (asbestosis), non-cancerous disease of the tissue of the lining of the surface of the lung (pleural disease), and Lung cancer.
Asbestosis is a process of lung tissue scarring cause by asbestos fibers. Asbestos is the only known risk factor for malignant mestothelioma, a cancer that affects the tissue lining the lung or abdomen. Smoking appears to increase the frequency and/or the rate of progression of asbestosis. Diagnosis of asbestosis or asbestos related lung diseases and cancer are often made using chest x-rays or CT scans of the lungs. Treatment of asbestos related diseases includes appropriate vaccinations, treatment of lung infections, smoking cessation, and the use of oxygen if necessary.