Cancer is a leading cause of death in America, claiming an estimated 569,490 lives in 2010 alone. Over 1.5 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year, and although this amount has decreased over the past fifteen years, many lives are still disrupted by cancer diagnoses. Two deadly forms of this disease are lung cancer and mesothelioma, but these are not quite the same disorder.
First, both lung cancer and mesothelioma can affect the lungs. However, mesothelioma describes a problem that attacks specialized cells that make up a lining called the mesothelium. The mesothelium is present around the lungs, heart, abdomen, and testicles, meaning that mesothelioma can strike other areas besides just the lungs. On the other hand, lung cancer strictly affects the actual cells that make up the lungs. Both cancers can spread to other areas, though, through a process called metastasis.
Also, because both cancers can occur in or near your lungs, they can manifest with several of the same symptoms. You can experience coughing, shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing, and chest pain. However, in 25% of lung cancer cases, there may be no symptoms until the tumors are discovered via x-ray or other devices.
Next, both cancers can be treated with the same combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, like other cancers. However, inconsistent survival rates for mesothelioma suggest that people’s prognoses depend more on unconventional treatment or individual situations rather than on the cancer treatment. Additionally, lung cancer is the most deadly form of this disease, and it is fairly consistent with its death rates, unlike mesothelioma.
Lastly, there are several different causes of the two different cancers. Mesothelioma is almost always the result of exposure to asbestos. Lung cancer can also be caused by asbestos exposure. In addition, though, it can also arise due to smoking, secondhand smoke, radon gas exposure, air pollution, and lung diseases