What is the Differences Between Mesothelioma and Asbestosis?

Both Mesothelioma and Asbestosis are asbestos-related diseases. This simply means they are caused by exposure to asbestos or asbestos products. However, contrary to the opinion of many, asbestos is quite different from each other, even though they are caused by asbestos exposure.


Of course, there are significant differences between mesothelioma and asbestosis, which I will reveal in this article. The main difference, however, is that asbestosis is not cancerous and involves only the lungs and other organs in the respiratory system. 


Mesothelioma, on the other hand, is an incurable cancer that develops in the mesothelial tissue; asbestos is trapped in them. The most common locations of mesothelioma are in the lungs and abdomen when asbestos is inhaled or swallowed in large amounts for an extended period.


What are the differences between Mesothelioma and Asbestosis?


While there are differences between mesothelioma and asbestosis, it might interest you to know that there are also similarities between these two asbestos-related diseases. First is that both conditions occur in the chest and can have a severe impact on the lungs.


This action area accounts for some of the symptoms that develop at the early stages of these diseases. For example, a person with asbestosis or mesothelioma will have difficulty breathing in the early stages. However, the pain experienced might be different based on the disease.

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Another similarity is the leading cause of these diseases, which is exposure to asbestos. You should also know that the development of the diseases varies significantly. In most cases, mesothelioma develops faster due to its damage to cells. Before we find out the differences between mesothelioma and asbestosis, let’s see some details about them.


What is Mesothelioma?


If you are reading about mesothelioma now, there is a fifty percent chance that you already know it. However, I will still discuss this disease for better understanding. As you might know, mesothelioma is basically cancer or tumor that develops in mesothelial tissue throughout the body.


Mesothelial tissues are present in many body parts and act as a non-adhesive, slippery protecting layer. When asbestos is inhaled or swallowed and comes in contact with these issues, it gets trapped. As the process continues, the person stands a risk of developing mesothelioma. 


Just like any other disease in medicine, mesothelioma also has a life expectancy. The sooner the tumor is discovered, the better it is to beat this date. However, the average life expectancy for mesothelioma is 12 to 21 months. Usually, the patient should start noticing symptoms in the early stages.


The symptom they notice will also depend on the location of the mesothelioma. If it is in the lungs, they might be having some trouble breathing. If they believe they have in one way or the other been exposed to asbestos, then they should visit their physician for a test as soon as possible.


The United States is one of the countries that record the most mesothelioma cases globally. On average, four thousand cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed every year. Thankfully, they are diagnosed early, so it is easier to generate an excellent treatment plan.


What is Asbestosis?


There are a lot of people who think that Mesothelioma and Asbestosis are the same, but they are not. You should know that Asbestosis is not cancer or a type of cancer. Of course, mesothelioma is a type of cancer, and that is what differentiates it from Asbestosis.


Oh, and yes, Mesothelioma is not limited to the lungs and respiratory tract. In fact, mesothelioma can occur in the abdomen; it all depends on which mesothelial issues cancer acts on. However, asbestosis is limited to the lungs and respiratory tract.


Asbestosis can never occur in other areas of the body aside from the respiratory system. This is because Asbestosis develops only by inhaling asbestos or its products. Of course, I will discuss this more later. 

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During the development of Asbestosis, it forms some scar tissue, resulting in respiratory distress. Respiratory distress is also one of the early symptoms of asbestosis, just like mesothelioma. There is also one more thing you should know.


Asbestosis is incurable. Yes, the disease can not be cured once it develops. However, patients of this disease can survive for many decades with treatment. It needs constant medication and attention to ensure it does not grow beyond its level.


Mesothelioma vs. Asbestosis


Let’s see the significant differences between Mesothelioma and Asbestosis. Firstly, you should know that mesothelioma is a type of cancer while Asbestosis is a form of pulmonary fibrosis. The cancerous disease mesothelioma is deadlier than Asbestosis, as it restricts the growth of cells, thereby forming tumors.


However, asbestosis, sometimes called pulmonary fibrosis, is quite different from cancer in the sense that it does not involve the formation of tumors. In asbestosis, there is usually scar tissue within the lungs.


The scarring causes the thickening and stiffness of the tissue, thereby giving the patient troubled breathing. Unlike cancer, whereby the cells can be fought through chemotherapy, scar tissue in asbestosis is irreversible. 


In essence, I mean there is no treatment for halting the process and getting the cells back as they were initially. As time goes on, the tissue will continue to cause respiratory distress if it is not managed correctly. Yes, there are treatments to slow down the process and give the patient a longer life.


However, asbestosis is quite unlike cancer in the sense that it does not involve the formation of tumors. In addition, asbestosis is limited only to the lungs and respiratory tract; it does not occur in other body parts.

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Mesothelioma, on the other hand, is basically cancer of the mesothelium, which is found in the chest cavity, lungs, and abdomen. Therefore, mesothelioma can occur in any of these places and is not restricted to the lungs and respiratory tract alone. The names of each type of mesothelioma also depend on its location.


In addition, the prognosis and life expectancy of mesothelioma and asbestosis are different from each other. Even though asbestosis is incurable, excellent and continuous treatment can prolong the patient’s survival for several decades. 


Treatment for mesothelioma cancer patients, on the other hand, is quite challenging. After treatment, the statistics show that less than thirty percent of patients survive for more than three years.



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