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Asbestos and cancer

All forms of asbestos cause cancer.

Exposure to asbestos causes many cancers, including lung cancermesothelioma (a rare cancer of the lining of the chest or abdominal cavity), laryngeal cancerovarian cancer and possibly pharyngeal, stomach and colorectal cancers.

Exposure is highest for people who mine asbestos or work with it in manufacturing, so the risk of developing cancer is also potentially the highest in these groups. People who are exposed to asbestos and who use tobacco are at even greater risk of developing lung cancer.

It often takes decades after exposure for an asbestos-related cancer to develop. The more asbestos you were around and the longer you were exposed, the greater your risk of developing cancer.

Read about our advocacy work to ban asbestos in Canada.

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