Mesothelioma and Lung Cancer

A person that has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, or know someone that is, may have the trouble understanding the cancerous situation and how it is different from other traits of cancer-particularly lung cancer. The two traits of cancer are actually quite distinctively different. So, what are the differences and what effect do those differences pose?

One important difference between mesothelioma and lung cancer is how these two forms of cancer develop. Mesothelioma develops as the interconnected network of a number of tumors over one large area of tissue. Over the time, the boundaries between cancerous and healthy tissue become difficult to differentiate. The structure as well as the growth pattern of this form of cancer might significantly limit the options for patients to receive treatments to mesothelioma. In the majority of cases, removing malignant tissue becomes very hard, if not impossible, because of the quantity of masses and the size of the impacted area. Radiation is known to be the best method on smaller areas of tissue, which limits its effectiveness with mesothelioma.

Unluckily, in the majority of cases, chemotherapy may not be enough to treat the large number of tumors. Eventually, these particular networking of masses may overtake the tissue affected, which leads to limited movement of that very tissue. Unluckily, they tend to grow long before they become noticed to the victim. By the time symptoms from the tumors are found, it is often too late to run effective treatment.

The structure and the growth of lung cancer is so different from that of mesothelioma. With lung cancer, the tumors grow as distinctive, individual masses, and boundaries of these masses are so obvious. This is true even when several masses are present. While these isolated tumors can be as large and just as life threatening as mesothelioma, treatment might be even more successful. Because the masses are somewhat distinct, when caught early enough, they can be removed through surgery, sometimes. Chemotherapy and radiation tend to work better in these cases as well.

Other differences between these two traits of cancer include their causes and the rarity. Commonly, the incidence of mesothelioma is way smaller than that of lung cancer. Likewise, the causes of lung cancer may vary and overlap, which includes the exposure to pesticides, pollutants, heavy metals, radon, and smoking, while mesothelioma causes are commonly related to the exposure to asbestos.

While there are various differences between these two forms of cancer, the initial warning signs, when found, of mesothelioma and lung cancer may be quite alike. If you or someone that you know is experiencing persistent and unusual respiratory symptoms, you should contact a doctor soon, as the early detection may have a very important impact on the effectiveness of future treatment and therapy.

The Typical Differences in Development between the Two Cancers

While mesothelioma and lung cancer may develop after the exposure to asbestos, each occurs in different parts of the body. Lung cancer develops in the lung itself. On the other hand, mesothelioma commonly develops in the lining of the lung. Mesothelioma may also grow in the lining of the abdomen, testicles or heart. The two cancers may grow in different ways. Lung cancer tends to develop in individual masses with specific boundaries. Mesothelioma begins its growth as tiny tumors nodules which scatter the mesothelial lining and eventually metastasizes together to form a sheath-like tumor surrounding the organ.

Mesothelioma is almost exclusive the result of the exposure to asbestos, while the majority of lung cancer cases are  related to such causes as tobacco use and the environmental exposure to second-hand smoke and radon gas. And though smoking does not impact the risk of mesothelioma, it significantly increases a person’s risk of developing lung cancer. Those with the highest risk of lung cancer are those who smoke particularly with the history of exposure to asbestos. By themselves, every single risk factor damages lung tissue and will make it far more susceptible to disease. As such, when smoking and asbestos also come into play, an individual’s lung cancer risk will increase fiftyfold, at least.


Diagnosing Mesothelioma and Lung Cancer

In order to diagnose either type of cancer, a doctor may perform X-ray, a biopsy or bronchoscopy. During a bronchoscopy, the doctor will insert a tube down the throat and into airways of the lung so as to detect abnormalities occurring such as visible tumor development. if the doctor has found irregular growth, he or she may collect a cell sample and then test it for possible growth of cancer. In a biopsy, the doctor will remove a small portion of suspicious infected tissue and then tests it for the growth of cancerous cells. The doctor may be able to carry out this particular procedure by using only a needle and no incision required. To gather a larger sample he or she will need to carry out minor biopsy surgery, however. Another test is carried out when doctors suspect a patient suffers from lung cancer. In this examination, which is called sputum cytology, the doctor will collect and test a sample of thick phlegm that the patient has coughed up from his or her lungs. This test may be useful to reveal some abnormalities like cancerous cells and blood in the phlegm.

Treating any of These Cancers

For any of these cancers, radiation therapy and chemotherapy are also considered the standard option of treatment. If the mesothelioma or lung cancer has been spotted, either treatment can be carried out to shrink the tumor growth and also can potentially kill the entire tumor cells. When operated in this potentially curative approach, chemotherapy and radiation are commonly combined with surgical method. These treatments can be used if the cancer has metastasized and spread beyond the original location. in these cases, treatments are rather palliative and aim at reducing symptoms.

Experimental therapies are being carried out and tested by means of clinical trials for both cancers. Some of these innovative therapies comprise of gene therapy, immunotherapy, photodynamic therapy and cyrotherapy.

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