COVID-19 Updates: We are keeping our staff, clients and their family members safe and healthy. Our law firm is 100% operational, available in-person and 24/7 assistance by email and phone. Read More

How is mesothelioma different?

While both diseases affect the lungs, mesothelioma and lung cancer are two different diseases, each requiring a specific treatment.

answered by Gregory A. Cade

How is mesothelioma different from other diseases which affect the lungs?

Malignant mesothelioma differs from other forms of asbestos-related diseases in several ways:

  • it affects the mesothelium tissue that covers many of the internal organs
  • it is rare and caused solely by exposure to dangerous asbestos fibers
  • it has the most aggressive progress, as well as the least favorable prognosis
  • it is genetically unique

Nevertheless, because the symptoms of mesothelioma often resemble those of other lung diseases, misdiagnosis is a common occurrence, which can lead to the patient receiving inappropriate and ineffective treatment. For this reason, we strongly encourage you to seek a second and even a third opinion if you have a pulmonary disease which is the consequence of occupational or military asbestos exposure.

The main symptoms of pleural mesothelioma, the type which occurs on the lungs, are chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, night sweats, loss of appetite, difficulty breathing, and a persistent cough. However, these are also the symptoms of more common pulmonary diseases and conditions, which can also be caused by asbestos exposure, such as the following:

Is malignant mesothelioma the same as lung cancer?

One of the primary differences between mesothelioma and lung cancer is the area of the lungs each develops on. Mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive disease, which affects the lungs, is only caused by asbestos exposure. Unlike lung cancer, which occurs inside of the lungs, it develops on the outer lining of the organs, medically known as the mesothelium, hence the name of the disease.

Another important difference between mesothelioma and lung cancer concerns the cell type which occurs in the cancerous tumors. While in the former, the cancer cells can be epithelioid, sarcomatoid, or biphasic, in the latter, the malignant cells can be squamous, large, or adenoma. Whereas lung cancer is restricted to only one area, mesothelioma can occur in other parts of the body, such as:

  • the outer lining of the heart
  • the abdomen
  • the testicles

Every year, over 220,000 people develop lung cancer in the United States, while mesothelioma is quite rare, occurring in only 3,000 individuals annually. The primary cause of lung cancer is tobacco smoking, whereas mesothelioma is only the consequence of asbestos exposure. However, lung cancer can also be the result of asbestos exposure alone. Smoking increases the risk of developing lung cancer as a result of asbestos exposure by 50 to 84 times, but when it comes to mesothelioma, it does not influence the risk at all.

Consequently, lung cancer and mesothelioma are two different diseases and each of them requires a specific treatment plan. For this reason, the asbestos exposure victim must receive a correct diagnosis, as misdiagnosis occurs very frequently when it comes to diseases caused by asbestos exposure. It is recommended to seek a second and even a third opinion if you have a disease that stems from asbestos exposure.

We offer asbestos screenings free of charge to the victims of asbestos exposure

Misdiagnosis can easily occur when it comes to identifying the asbestos-related disease which is affecting the lungs. Even medical professionals who have vast experience in diagnosing lung diseases that stem from asbestos exposure may have a challenging time assigning a correct diagnosis, as the symptoms of these diseases are very similar. Only by employing a series of tests and exams makes it possible that a disease caused by asbestos exposure be correctly diagnosed, such as a chest X-ray, a CT scan, breathing tests, and blood tests. A biopsy may also be necessary in the case of a tumor which occurs on or inside the lungs to accurately determine what type of cancer the patient suffers from.

Because misdiagnosis is so common when it comes to diseases, which result from asbestos exposure, our medical specialists, who have extensive experience in diagnosing these diseases, provide people with a history of asbestos exposure with a free of charge asbestos screening. Thereby, if you were exposed to asbestos in occupational or military settings, we strongly encourage you to visit our medical facility in Birmingham, Alabama in order to receive a correct diagnosis and to find out whether you have asbestos fibers in your lungs.

By carefully examining your chest X-rays and using breathing and blood tests, our medical experts will be able to assign you a precise diagnosis. In the unfortunate case you developed a disease following asbestos exposure, our attorneys will help you recover the financial compensation you deserve.

We provide you with quality legal assistance if you struggle with a disease caused by asbestos exposure

Whether you suffer from mesothelioma, lung cancer, or another disease, which affects your lungs as a consequence of asbestos exposure, you have the right to take legal action.

With 30 years of experience in pursuing asbestos exposure cases, our attorneys will assist you with filing a claim with the asbestos trust funds of the companies which manufactured the dangerous products you were exposed to, as well as with the VA if you are a veteran.

By taking legal action, not only will you recover the compensation you deserve for your injury, but the liable parties will also be held accountable for their negligent actions. If you struggle with mesothelioma, your claim will be expedited, as this is the most serious disease asbestos exposure can cause.

Nevertheless, we always strive to recover compensation for our clients within the shortest time possible, regardless of their diagnosis. The money you will eventually receive will also help you afford superior healthcare and treatment, so we highly recommend taking legal action. It is also important to know that we work on a contingency fee basis, which means that you do not owe us anything unless we obtain financial compensation for you.

Other related questions

While smoking was found to greatly increase the risk of lung cancer in people with a history of asbestos exposure, it was not found to be the cause of developing other asbestos diseases.

Read more

Diseases caused by asbestos exposure affect 20% of former industrial workers and 30% of veterans. Every year, between 12,000 and 15,000 people lose their lives to diseases that stem from asbestos exposure.

Read more

Every person will experience different emotions before death, depending on factors such as their age, how much distress mesothelioma has been causing them, and their spiritual beliefs.

Read more

Death will usually ensue several months after mesothelioma spreads to major organs in the body. The tremendous damage cancer causes will gradually lead to the body shutting down.

Read more

Asbestosis is a lung condition that develops as a result of exposure to high levels of asbestos fibers, especially during the removal of asbestos-containing materials for renovation at construction sites and shipbuilding yards.

Read more

Misdiagnosis is quite common and is more likely to happen, especially when both the patient and the doctor ignore the past history of asbestos exposure.

Read more

Only people who have been exposed to asbestos for at least 3 years in occupational or military settings can file a claim with asbestos trust funds or the VA to receive compensation.

Read more

Asbestos is a carcinogen responsible for the occurrence of terrible diseases. However, most people who became ill had been exposed to high levels of asbestos over the course of several years.

Read more

Most cases take at least 20 to 30 years for the symptoms to show up and this period often depends on how intense and how long was the asbestos exposure.

Read more

While asbestosis is not a common disease in and of itself, in people with a history of asbestos exposure, it is quite common and can also lead to the development of more severe pulmonary diseases, such as mesothelioma.

Read more

See more questions