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Home >Information for Patients > Dictionary Index

Dictionary of Cancer Terms

View in Spanish: Amianto

Asbestos (as-BES-tus)
A group of minerals that take the form of tiny fibers. Asbestos has been used as insulation against heat and fire in buildings. Loose asbestos fibers breathed into the lungs can cause several serious diseases, including lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma (cancer found in the lining of the lungs, chest, or abdomen). Asbestos that is swallowed may cause cancer of the gastrointestinal tract.



 
 
Source: National Cancer Institute Dictionary of Cancer Terms, available at www.cancer.gov/dictionary.