Mesothelioma and lung cancer are both serious illnesses caused by exposure to asbestos; but they are not the same disease.
Mesothelioma is almost always caused by asbestos exposure. It is considered a “signature disease” for asbestos exposure, because if you have mesothelioma, it can be assumed that you were exposed to asbestos at some point in your lifetime.
Types of mesothelioma
The most common form of mesothelioma, pleural mesothelioma, is actually a cancer in the lining that surrounds the tissue of your lung (called the “pleura”). The fluids secreted by both your parietal pleura (in your inner chest wall) and your visceral pleura (encases your lungs) enable your lungs to move easily while you breathe. Although pleural mesothelioma can spread to your lungs and into the tissue, the original site of this cancer is your pleura, not your lungs.
The second most common type of mesothelioma is peritoneal mesothelioma. This affects the mesothelial tissue in your peritoneum, the lining of your abdomen. Your peritoneum secretes a fluid to allow for increased movement and reduced friction among the organs in your midsection.
The rarest form of mesothelioma is pericardium mesothelioma, which appears in less that 10 percent all cases. This type affects the lining of your heart cavity, or your pericardium. As with the types of mesothelioma, the rapid growth of cancerous tumors can cause your tissue to expand and fluid to accumulate. This can interfere with the functioning of your heart and lead to chest pain.
Lung cancer develops in the tissue of your lungs. While this cancer can be caused by exposure to asbestos, it can also be caused by smoking. There are two main categories of lung cancer; primary that originates in your lung tissue, and secondary that is spread from other organs.
Types of lung cancer
Primary lung cancer is divided into two main groups that are categorized by the size of the tumors: small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. Non-small cell is further divided into the following categories:
- Squamous cell carcinoma
- Large cell carcinoma
- Adenosquamous cell carcinoma
- Undifferentiated carcinoma
Secondary lung cancer can spread to the lungs from any other organ. Many other types of cancers, such as breast and colon cancer, will spread to the lungs because of the high blood supply there.
Mesothelioma is a rare disorder, and affects about 3,000 people each year. There are about 200,000 diagnoses of lung cancer a year, making the diagnostic rate about 65 times greater than that of mesothelioma.
If you or a family member has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos lung cancer or asbestosis, it is important that you contact , LLP, experienced asbestos cancer attorneys in Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, D.C. immediately. At , LLP, we offer free consultations and will treat your case with professionalism and sensitivity.