Most people in the general public are now aware that exposure to asbestos is dangerous and can lead to the development of serious forms of asbestos disease.

It is important to note that there are several forms of asbestos disease.  An individual may have several forms of asbestos disease such as pleural plaques and asbestosis or pleural plaques and mesothelioma.  But pleural plaques do not turn into mesothelioma and asbestosis does not turn into lung cancer.  Some of the more common asbestos conditions can be summarised as follows: –

Malignant mesothelioma

A rare and aggressive cancer which most commonly occurring in the lining of the lungs (pleura) and occasionally in the lining of the abdominal region (peritoneum).  Mesothelioma is a terminal disease and there is no known cure. This condition can be caused by light asbestos exposure and is considered to be almost exclusively caused by asbestos. The time between exposure to asbestos and the development of symptoms is usually 20 to 40 years (known as the latency period) but can be up to a minimum of 10 years.

Lung cancer

Cancer of the lung tissue usually caused by heavy and prolonged asbestos exposure.  An entitlement to compensation can be established even where there is a history of smoking.


Scarring of the lung tissue caused by heavy asbestos exposure resulting in breathing restriction.  This is not a cancer but is considered to be a progressive disease process and symptoms can worsen with time.  This scarring is also known as fibrosis.

Pleural plaques

Thickened and hardened patches that can develop on the lining of the lung or the diaphragm.  Pleural plaques are not cancerous but are evidence of past asbestos exposure.  Extensive plaques can cause lung function restriction.

Benign asbestos pleuraleffusions

This is a build-up fluid in the pleural space(s) caused by asbestos exposure and when resolved it can cause thickening of the pleural which can change the architecture of the lung and can cause breathing problems and chest pain.

Diffuse pleural thickening

Pleural thickening develops when scar tissue thickens the delicate membrane lining the lungs (the pleura). Pleural thickening can develop following asbestos exposure or other conditions, such as infection. It may be a symptom of a more severe diagnosis such as malignant pleural mesothelioma.

vbr Lawyers – asbestos compensation experts

vbr Lawyers are highly specialised in all types of asbestos disease claims and can assist with ensuring your rights and entitlements to compensation are protected and maximised.

Sean Ryan Lawyer Gold Coast

This blog was edited by Sean Ryan, Legal Practitioner Director

Phone: 07 5593 2122 or Toll Free 1800 316 716