How Lung Cancer and Mesothelioma Are Very Different

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Mesothelioma & Asbestos Published on September 25, 2019 and updated on March 3, 2022.

lung xrayWhen people are diagnosed with mesothelioma in one of their lungs, they may assume it is just another type of lung cancer. However, mesothelioma and lung cancer are actually very different conditions. Unfortunately, the prognosis for mesothelioma is often not good. Victims may not live much longer than a year after being diagnosed.

Learn about the significant differences between mesothelioma and lung cancer below. Our Maryland mesothelioma lawyers understand how devastating this diagnosis can be for families, both emotionally and financially. Call Peter T. Nicholl Law Offices for a free consultation to discuss whether you may have legal options for pursuing compensation.

Defining Both Conditions

Lung cancer and mesothelioma both have similar symptoms and affect the lungs. However, there are distinct differences between how these cancers form.

  • Lung cancer is defined as the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cancer cells in one or both lungs while mesothelioma is a cancer of the tissue surrounding the lungs.
  • Mesothelioma forms in the outer lining of the lung, while lung cancer forms in the tissue of the lung.
  • Mesothelioma can also form in the lining of the heart, abdomen or testes.
  • Mesothelioma of the lung is referred to as “pleural mesothelioma.”
  • Lung cancer usually grows into a large mass, while mesothelioma may be smaller and may multiply across the lining of the lung.

Individuals who have lung cancer or mesothelioma often experience symptoms such as:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss

Mesothelioma is much rarer than lung cancer. Approximately 220,000 Americans are diagnosed each year with lung cancer while only about 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma each year. People diagnosed with lung cancer also have a higher long-term survival rate.

What Causes These Conditions?

Mesothelioma is almost exclusively caused by exposure to asbestos. Lung cancer can be caused by a number of factors, including air pollution, asbestos exposure, smoking or second-hand smoke. Manufacturers of cigarettes and other tobacco products have faced numerous lawsuits over the years as millions of people developed lung cancer. The manufacturers of products that contained asbestos, and many employers who used asbestos but did not warn their employees of the dangers of asbestos exposure, have been forced to pay compensation to many mesothelioma victims and their families.

Treatment of These Two Diseases

Treatment options for mesothelioma and lung cancer are often similar and may involve chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation therapy. Treatment options for either condition depend primarily on how far the cancer has spread. Additionally, doctors must consider the stage of the cancer tumor and the patient’s overall health when making treatment recommendations.

Surgery can help remove large growths of cancer cells. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can help shrink the growth of tumors and may be able to kill these cells. Drugs are also used to help treat the patient and minimize side effects. Experimental treatments are also being developed for both types of cancer.

Why Mesothelioma Is Harder to Treat

Lung cancer is typically comprised of well-defined masses. These are easier to target for treatment. In contrast, mesothelioma often consists of thinly spread tumors that form over healthy tissue. This makes them harder to target through conventional cancer treatment.

Call a Licensed Lawyer for Help

If you were recently diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is critical that you quickly reach out for legal support. Peter T. Nicholl Law Offices can quickly review your potential legal options in a free consultation.

Our mesothelioma lawyers are dedicated to helping mesothelioma victims and their families recover the compensation they need after receiving this serious diagnosis. We work diligently to secure maximum compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Our attorneys work on a contingency-fee basis, so we charge no upfront fees and we are not paid for our services unless we recover compensation on your behalf. We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your legal options with you.

Call us today at 410-244-7005 to schedule your free, no-risk consultation.