Difference between Mesothelioma and Asbestosis

Difference between Mesothelioma and Asbestosis

Jun 24

Although mesothelioma and asbestosis are both caused by asbestos exposure, there are some key differences.

The main difference between both is that mesothelioma is cancerous while asbestosis is not. Asbestosis is a lung disease caused by inhaling asbestos fibers that causes the victim to be unable to take full, deep breaths. The asbestos fibers cause lung scarring and stiffness of the lungs. Mesothelioma is a cancer of the mesothelial tissue that can affect the lungs, stomach, heart, and other organs. Although different diseases, asbestosis can develop into the more serious mesothelioma if not treated properly.

Another difference is how the diseases develop. Asbestosis is caused by the patient breathing in asbestos fibers and them becoming stuck in the lung’s air sacks. These air sacks are also known as alveoli and become scarred from the asbestos fibers causing the lungs to become more and more stiff over time. Mesothelioma develops when asbestos fibers enter the the lining of the lungs and cause the deadly cancer.

Asbestosis and mesothelioma do carry some similar symptoms, however. Both diseases are characterized by shortness of breath, coughing, chest pain, and weight loss. Unfortunately, these symptoms in both cases can be mistaken for less serious conditions. Mesothelioma carries more serious symptoms as time progresses.

Doctors are able to see the difference between the diseases, even if the symptoms are the same, through scans of the lungs. The treatments for both diseases are different. Asbestosis treatments, such as antibiotics and inhalers, are often focused on slowing down the progression of the disease. Mesothelioma treatments cannot usually treat the disease and are more focused on improving quality of life and prolonging life expectancy for the patient.

Although mesothelioma is often more serious than asbestosis, both diseases can prove fatal to those carrying the diseases. Asbestosis can even develop into the cancerous mesothelioma. What makes these diseases even more terrifying is that symptoms can take 10 to 40 years to show after the diseases develop.

If you suspect you have been exposed to asbestos or suffer from asbestosis or mesothelioma, you can find more information about the steps you can take and more about the diseases.

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