How asbestos can cause cancerous changes in the DNA of cells


Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai


Irving Selikoff, MD, Jacob Churg, MD, and E. Cuyler Hammond, MD, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai


Asbestos has been classified as a known human carcinogen (a substance that causes cancer) by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the EPA, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Studies have shown that exposure to asbestos may increase the risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma (a rare cancer of the thin membranes that line the chest and abdomen). Although rare, mesothelioma is the most common form of cancer associated with asbestos exposure. Some studies have also suggested an association between asbestos exposure and gastrointestinal and colorectal cancers, as well as an elevated risk for cancers of the throat, kidney, esophagus and gallbladder.