Ask-the-Expert Online Conference
- Question from CBabe: I worked for a company for 5 years where 6 women in our department got cancer. The building contained asbestos and other toxins. Could this be coincidence?
The asbestos studies that have been done clearly show an increase in a number of respiratory cancers in workers. Most of the workers studied have been men. There is a very clear suggestion of an increased risk in breast cancer in women who did work with asbestos. The number of women concerned is small, so the association did not achieve what we call statistical significance.
There could be an association between asbestos and breast cancer and frankly, if the environment included asbestos, it may have included other [harmful] agents as well. I'm not aware that brain cancer is associated with asbestos, but that doesn't mean there is no association, only that we don't have evidence that there is.
- Jennifer Griggs, M.D., M.P.H. Clearing asbestos is not the answer either since removal of asbestos increases the fibers in the environment, which can cause damage.
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