What is the Difference Between Lung Cancer and Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma & Asbestos | December 9, 2021

If you have worked in an industrial setting or around asbestos, then you need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of mesothelioma. However, we do want to point out that only a qualified medical professional who specializes in cancer and mesothelioma can adequately provide a diagnosis. Do not rely on a self-diagnosis to determine whether or not you have lung cancer or mesothelioma. Here, we want to discuss the difference between these two types of diseases.

Lung Cancer Versus Mesothelioma Overview

The initial signs and symptoms of lung cancer and mesothelioma are very similar, and without further testing, making a precise diagnosis to differentiate between the two can be impossible. It is crucial to understand that only mesothelioma specialists can provide an accurate mesothelioma diagnosis. General oncologists are doctors that specialize in cancer, but they typically do not specialize in recognizing this rare disease caused by asbestos exposure.

Even though lung cancer and mesothelioma are both cancers, they are two entirely different diseases. They develop and spread differently, and they require different types of treatment approaches.

Lung Cancer VS. Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma overview

Mesothelioma is a disease caused by inhaling or ingesting microscopic asbestos fibers. After these fibers are inhaled or ingested, they can become trapped inside organ tissues and are nearly impossible to remove. Asbestos can lead to mesothelioma because of the changes that this type of toxin causes at the cellular level. Asbestos can cause genetic damage, inflammation, and scarring that can lead to cancer. Typically, patients are diagnosed with mesothelioma anywhere from 10 to 50 years after their initial asbestos exposure.

Lung cancer overview

Unlike mesothelioma, which only has one known cause, lung cancer can have many possible causes and can develop differently depending on which underlying cause is present.

Lung cancer is an abnormal growth in the lung cells that form into tumors that spread to other parts of the body. Smoking is one of the most common causes of lung cancer in the United States. When combined with other types of risk factors, smoking can significantly increase a person’s risk of developing this cancer. Other factors that contribute to lung cancer include:

  • Inhaling secondhand smoke
  • Air pollution
  • Exposure to radiation or radon
  • Genetic history
  • Being infected with HIV

The Cells Respond Differently

There is a distinct difference between lung cancer cells and mesothelioma cells. Both of these cells grow differently. Lung cells usually grow within defined boundaries in individual masses, either in the lungs or other areas of the body. Mesothelioma cells usually start as a small node of tumors in the mesothelial lining of cells. These nodes then grow together to form a tumor surrounding the lungs or another type of organ.

Working With an Attorney

If you believe that you have contracted mesothelioma or another type of lung cancer as a result of exposure to a harmful substance, you may be able to recover compensation for your losses. A skilled mesothelioma lawyer in Chicago can examine your case and determine whether or not you have a lawsuit against another party. The ultimate goal is to prove that another party caused your mesothelioma or lung cancer and help you recover compensation for your losses.