What is Mesothelioma Lung cancer?

Find Out About This Rare Form Of Cancer As Part Of Our Health Series


The world we live in now has a lot of diseases that spread very quickly but have taken years to develop. Mesothelioma and lung cancer are both different types cancers that have overlapping symptoms. Also the diagnostic for both these use same procedures. The treatment process and technique is also the same.

Mesothelioma Symptoms

Common symptoms between the two are coughing, fatigue, chest pain, weight loss and difficulty in breathing. Although these symptoms are common to many diseases, doctors commonly check patient history to know if asbestos exposure or smoking is the cause of the symptoms.

Despite being very similar, the physical characteristics differ. between the two. if the asbestos is inhaled then it will set either in the lung tissue or the lining of the lungs. Cancer can be caused in both these places. The major difference between lung cancer and pleural mesothelioma is the location where it occurs. The mesothelioma occurs in the lining of the lungs, whereas the asbestos in the lung tissue can cause lung cancer.

Pleural mesothelioma is not accounted as a lung cancer but at times wrongly diagnosed as that. It is misdiagnosed as Adenocarcinoma or Pseudomesotheliomatous lung cancer. Exposure to asbestos can cause both the PM (Pleural Mesothelioma) and LC (Lung cancer). However, smoking can only cause LC. In addition to it, smoking does not increase the risk of PM.

Lung cancer can increase by up to 50 fold in cases where asbestos exposure has occurred and where smoking is an ongoing process. Also, terminating smoking can decrease the risk of LC. However, it is difficult to recover from PM as it is not very easy as terminating smoking. In addition to it, chances of recovery highly reduce as the person ages. This happens as the asbestos fibers covered in the bodily tissues which can cause continuous damage for years. Therefore the risk of lung cancer may decrease by ceasing smoking but the risk of PM keeps on increasing.

As mentioned earlier the treatment process for both is similar that are surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Although the type of therapy, plans, and treatment combinations may vary for PM and LC. Usually, all types of cancers are treated with multimodal therapy i.e. using different combinations of treatments. However, treatment mainly depends on the health of the patient as well as the stage of the tumor formation. Both these cancers are diagnosed using similar tools such as X-rays, biopsy and other imaging scans. The biopsy is the key tool that is used to determine whether a person as LC or PM.

The survival rate for PM and LC differ based on regular researches conducted. According to research over a period of five years the survival for PM is 38% and for LC is 42%. These figures can dramatically change if it is diagnosed in Stage I. The percentage can increase to up to 53% for lung cancer. Despite the similarities between the two, the diagnosis for both lung cancer and the Pleural Mesothelioma is different which also reflects the survival rate. Both of them are fatal diseases, therefore it is best they are identified as earliest as possible. Hence, most doctors around the world recommend yearly checkups.

This article is brought to you from our publication of Health department.

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