A study by professors at the University of Bologna involving patients at the Sant’Orsola-Malpighi University Hospital points to the fact that another rare cancer may be linked to exposure to asbestos.
University researchers recently completed a case-control analysis involving 155 patients who were being treated at the hospital between 2006 and 2010. All were suffering from intrahepatic (ICC) or extrahepatic colangiocarcoma (ECC), a cancer that develops in the ducts that carry bile from the liver to the small intestine.
The study took into account age, sex, and other parameters as well as the patients’ job titles, which were obtained from their work histories. Hence, the authors were able to ascertain whether or not these individuals worked with (or probably worked with) asbestos.
“We found an increased risk of ICC in workers exposed to asbestos,” the authors noted. “We also observed suggestive evidence that asbestos exposure might be associated with ECC.”
Therefore, the conclusion drawn at the end of the study stated: “Our findings suggest that ICC could be associated with asbestos exposure; a chronic inflammatory pathway is hypothesized. Exposure to asbestos could be one of the determinants of the progressive rise in the incidence of ICC during the last 30 years.”
Colangiocarcinoma affects both men and women, says the American Cancer Society, and most of the patients are over 65 years of age. It’s a slow-developing cancer and doesn’t spread quickly, but like mesothelioma, it is often not discovered until it has reached an advanced stage.
Individuals with chronic biliary or liver inflammation as well as those suffering from ulcerative colitis are candidates for the disease. The five-year survival rate for this cancer is about 20 percent if the tumor is able to be removed completely. Otherwise, the prognosis – as with malignant mesothelioma – is very poor.