Differences Between Mesothelioma and Asbestosis

Asbestos is an extremely dangerous substance when the proper precautions are not taken to safeguard against the inhalation or ingestion of dangerous levels of the substance. When these precautions are not taken, several potential medical conditions can arise. The bulk of these are serious cancers. The most common illness associated with asbestos is mesothelioma, a rare and deadly cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Another potentially deadly condition caused by asbestos exposure is asbestosis. While these conditions are entirely different, they share a common cause.

Asbestosis is a build up of scar tissue on the lungs that impedes the expansion and contraction of the lungs. It is considered to be a severe lung disease. Asbestosis is often misdiagnosed as asthma because many of the symptoms are similar, and physicians see a lot more cases of asthma than asbestosis. The first sign of the illness is a shortness of breath that occurs after physical exertion. Eventually, the shortness of breath occurs even at times of rest. Other symptoms of asbestosis are chest pain and coughing.

Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that affects the mesothelium of certain internal organs. The mesothelium consists of two layers of mesothelial cells. Most commonly, it is the lungs that are attacked by cancer; however, other organs such as the stomach, heart and kidneys, may be affected. Symptoms of mesothelioma are similar to that of asbestosis. The lungs have difficulty expanding due to tumors on the lung membrane. Other symptoms include coughing, chest pain, difficulty sleeping due to the difficulty breathing, weight loss and fluid in the chest. The difference in asbestosis and Mesothelioma is that cancerous cells are causing these symptoms; asbestosis is not a form of cancer.

There are major differences in the treatment of asbestosis and mesothelioma. Asbestosis has no treatment as does mesothelioma. Treatments for asbestosis focus on keeping the condition from progressing as well as easing the symptoms associated with the illness. Mesothelioma has treatment options available based on the stage the cancer has reached. If it is caught early, then there is the possibility of removing cancerous tumors or killing the abnormal cells through radiation or chemotherapy. Later stages of cancer can be treated, but the cancer may have progressed to other parts of the body and may be more difficult to treat. Regardless of treatment, both of these conditions have a very poor prognosis.

Asbestosis and mesothelioma present themselves in similar fashion, sharing many of the same symptoms. They also share a common cause. This makes it imperative to see a physician as soon as symptoms appear. Getting a proper diagnosis can prolong life and can also provide valuable information to be used in any potential lawsuits. Once you have been properly diagnosed and have begun treatment, it is strongly advised that you seek the services of an attorney who specializes in these cases. You may be entitled to a monetary award for you medical expenses and pain and suffering. Your attorney will guide you through the process of seeking financial relief for your asbestos-related illness.

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