Even though mesothelioma and lung cancer are both deadly cancers, they are different diseases. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops in the lining around the lungs and chest when a person inhales asbestos fibers. Asbestos, which is the only known cause of cancerous mesothelioma, is a naturally occurring mineral. The mineral was used as a building material before people became aware of its hazardous properties. Asbestos leads to mesothelioma because it causes changes at a cellular level. This toxic substance triggers inflammation, scarring, and damage that can cause cancer. Usually, when asbestos is disturbed, it releases tiny fibers into the air. When these fibers are inhaled, they get stuck in the pleural lining of the lungs and chest. Asbestos exposure is most prevalent in industrial workplaces.
On the other hand, lung cancer develops in the lungs and not in the lining of the lungs. Unlike mesothelioma, which has one known cause (asbestos), lung cancer has many known causes. Nonetheless, even though lung cancer often occurs because of other factors, the reality is that asbestos exposure can also cause lung cancer. When asbestos fibers get stuck in a person’s lungs, they can develop lung cancer.
After symptoms that suggest a serious lung problem start emerging, an individual might think they have lung cancer, when in fact they have mesothelioma, or vice versa, because both diseases can present a similar set of symptoms. Nonetheless, a history of being exposed to asbestos fibers is what physicians look for when trying to identify mesothelioma specifically. Some of the symptoms people with mesothelioma or lung cancer experience include;
- Persistent cough
- Unexplained weight loss
- Shortness of breath
When it comes to treatment, both lung cancer and mesothelioma can be treated with radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy. However, it is often hard to cure mesothelioma because the tumors often branch out and spread within and around the pleural cavity.
The unfortunate reality is that many people with lung cancer and mesothelioma do not know they are sick until the disease has progressed. Mesothelioma, in particular, develops slowly. After a person is exposed to the toxic substance asbestos, it can take them up to six decades to discover they have mesothelioma. People who worked in shipbuilding, construction, and insulation are among those at high risk of being diagnosed with mesothelioma. Unfortunately, there is no safe level of asbestos exposure. A person can develop mesothelioma even after being exposed to mesothelioma for a short time. People have developed malignant mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos for as little as a few days.
Nationwide Mesothelioma Lawyers
If you or a loved one was diagnosed with either mesothelioma or lung cancer, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced asbestos attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.