Lung Cancer Vs Mesothelioma

Lung Cancer Vs Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is sometimes mistaken for lung cancer, even though they are completely separate cancers affecting different organs. The main difference between the two is their location. Lung cancer originates and occurs in different areas of the lungs while mesothelioma occurs in the mesothelium, which surrounds the lungs and other areas of the body. They are both caused by asbestos, but many other carcinogens including tobacco smoke and radon can cause lung cancer, while asbestos is the main cause of mesothelioma.

There are two main types of lung cancer: non-small cell and small cell lung cancer. Non-small cell can be broken down into three main types. These include adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and large cell carcinoma. Adenocarcinoma is the most common subtype making up 35 to 40 percent of non-small cell lung cancer cases. It starts at both the edges of the lungs and the cells lining the airways. It is the most common type found in non-smokers. Squamous cell carcinoma makes up 30 percent of non-small cell lung cancers and is usually found in the middle of the lungs. Large cell carcinoma is the final type and makes up 10 to 20 percent of cases. It occurs in any part of the lung. Small cell lung cancer is the other major type of lung cancer, and it accounts for 10 to 15 percent of all lung cancer cases. It starts in the bronchi and spreads quickly throughout the body.

When someone develops mesothelioma, it can be in four different areas. The most common is the pleura, which surrounds the lungs, while the second most common is the peritoneum, which surrounds the abdomen. The peritoneum can be broken down to the visceral peritoneum which covers the internal organs and the parietal peritoneum which lubricates the outside of the intestinal tract. The two less common types of mesothelioma are pericardial and testicular. Pericardial mesothelioma occurs in the lining of the heart while testicular occurs around the testicles of men. These types are very rare, but can still happen.

Since lung cancer and mesothelioma are different cancers, they have different symptoms and warning signs, but also share some as well. Lung cancer sufferers typically have chest discomfort or pain as well as a persistent cough that worsens over time. They also cough up blood or rust colored phlegm. Patients also have to deal with hoarseness, wheezing, and a lack of appetite that can lead to weight loss. Finally, lung cancer sufferers have recurrent infections including bronchitis and pneumonia. If someone has one or especially all of these symptoms, he or she needs to see a doctor. Pleural mesothelioma, while in a similar location, has different symptoms. Mesothelioma sufferers can have breathlessness, a cough, and can also develop hoarseness or even cough up blood. They can also have unexplained weight loss or develop a pleural effusion, which is a buildup of fluid between the linings of the chest and lungs. Sufferers can also have night sweats, fever, and chills.

While pleural mesothelioma sufferers can have similar symptoms to lung cancer, peritoneal mesothelioma sufferers have to deal with ascites, which is a buildup of fluid in the abdomen. This can lead to pain or swelling. A bowel obstruction in the small or large intestine can also happen, though it is rare. Patients can also have anemia, which makes it harder to get oxygen throughout the body.

Mesothelioma is sometimes labeled and treated as lung cancer, but it is a separate cancer. Not only does it affect a different part of the body, but there are four different types of mesothelioma, three of which are not near the lungs. While they can both be caused by asbestos, mesothelioma is only caused by asbestos while lung cancer can be caused by tobacco smoke, radon, and others. In case of asbestos exposure, know the differences between lung cancer and mesothelioma so you can help your doctor give the most accurate diagnosis possible.

If you were exposed to asbestos and now have mesothelioma or lung cancer, fill out our contact form or call 412-471-3980 to speak to an attorney or a member of our staff. We can talk you through an asbestos lawsuit and the steps we will go through to get you compensation.

“Mesothelioma Symptoms” Mesothelioma Center [Link]
“Types of Lung Cancer” Lung Cancer Research Foundation [Link]

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