All Asbestos Risk the Same?

OncoLink Team
The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: May 7, 2013

Question

Do all types of asbestos have the same risks?

Answer

Dan Sterman, MD, Interventional Pulmonologist at Penn Medicine, responds:

All forms of asbestos are capable of causing mesothelioma, and no form of asbestos should be considered "safe." There are, however, different degrees of the asbestos fibers being able to cause cancer. In comparison with serpentine (chrysolite) crystals, rod-like amphiboles crystal, such as crocidolite, place people at higher risks. Due to the shape of these fibers, they more easily get lodged in the respiratory tract and resist clearance, which can ultimately lead to mesothelioma development.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. View the entire Focus on Mesothelioma transcript.

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