Is lung cancer and mesothelioma the same thing?
While it is true that mesothelioma is a cancer, it is a myth that is the same thing as lung cancer – it is not. Mesothelioma is pathologically quite a different illness than lung cancer.
It develops at a different rate, can have different causes, and different prognosis. One thing that mesothelioma and lung cancer do have in common is that both can be caused by asbestos.
Today we’ll explore the differences between these two devastating illnesses.
In case you missed it, check out our series on asbestos myths here.
What’s the differences between lung cancer and mesothelioma?
The primary difference is in the location of the disease. Lung cancer, quite evidently, begins in the lungs. When lung cancer becomes metastatic, it most commonly spreads to the other lung, bones, brain, liver and the adrenal gland. Mesothelioma is cancer of the lining of the lungs or other abdominal organs. When the disease is in the lining of the lungs, it is called pleural mesothelioma.
The lungs and abdominal organs are lined with a thin tissue called the mesothelium and that is where mesothelioma cancer grows – not within the lungs themselves as with lung cancer. When mesothelioma becomes metastatic, it most often spreads to the lining of the heart (pericardium), lining of the abdomen (peritoneum), lymph nodes, chest wall, area between the lungs (mediastinum) and diaphragm.
Do lung cancer and mesothelioma have different causes?
Yes. Both mesothelioma and lung cancer can be caused by exposure to asbestos. The difference is that while most cases of mesothelioma (80% or more) are caused by asbestos, roughly 90% of lung cancers are caused by smoking according to The Mesothelioma Center.
Asbestos accounts for less than 5% of lung cancer occurrence. Those that both smoke and were exposed to asbestos are at a 50 to 84 times greater risk for lung cancer according to The Centers for Disease Control. In contrast, research has not shown an enhanced risk of developing mesothelioma due to smoking.
Are lung cancer and mesothelioma treated differently?
There are many similarities between treatment for mesothelioma and lung cancer. Treatment regimens will depend on the stage of the cancer, if and where it has metastasized and the general health of the patient.
Surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy are treatment options for both diseases. Surgical options will differ because the mesothelium (tissue lining the lungs and abdominal organs) are commonly removed and if the lung itself is affected, all or a portion of the lung may be removed. With lung cancer, surgeons will often remove an affected piece of the lung, lobe of the lung, or an entire lung. When either cancer has spread too extensively to be treated, physicians may recommend only palliative (pain relieving) measures.
With lung cancer, surgeons will often remove an affected piece of the lung, lobe of the lung, or an entire lung. When either cancer has spread too extensively to be treated, physicians may recommend only palliative (pain relieving) measures.
What is the differences in lung cancer and mesothelioma prognosis?
Prognosis differs in both diseases and is unique to each patient. With both mesothelioma and lung cancer, the earlier the stage of detection, the more treatable the condition. Unfortunately, because mesothelioma has fewer detectable symptoms at onset, it is usually diagnosed in later stages. If
If the cancer has not metastasized, the prognosis is usually better. The younger and healthier the patient, the better the prognosis. Additionally, women and non-smokers may have better outcomes. Over the past decade, advancements in cancer treatments have improved the life-expectancy of patients of both lung cancer and mesothelioma and research continues to provide hope.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or someone you love has been diagnosed, contact Bergman Draper Oslund for a free case evaluation today. Our practice is dedicated solely to fighting for the rights of asbestos exposure victims who have developed mesothelioma.
We have won more than $700 million for our clients and can help you get the answers you deserve. Contact us now – there is a limited statute of limitations for filing a claim – don’t let time run out.