Pleural Mesothelioma and Lung Cancer: Real Outcomes of Asbestos Exposure

All sorts of asbestos, which include serpentine and amphibole forms, are known to trigger lung cancer and pleural mesothelioma. Amphibole forms of asbestos, which includes crocidolite, amosite, antyophyllite, and tremolite are more carcinogenic than are serpentine asbestos. Regardless of the type of asbestos to which someone has been exposed, scientists knowthat dramatically less exposure to asbestos is needed to trigger pleural mesothelioma than lung cancer. The reason is rather unknown, yet some scientists believe that genetic susceptibility could have influential role.


Following the exposure to asbestos, both pleural mesothelioma and lung cancer pose a long latency period prior to the development of cancer. The average latency for pleural mesothelioma is thirty to fifty years, while lung cancer’s latency is way shorter, at ten to twenty years.

Smoking Does not Increase the Risk of Pleural Mesothelioma

The exposure to asbestos along can trigger both pleural mesothelioma and lung cancer, and smoking alone can cause lung cancer. But, smoking along cannot cause mesothelioma, nor does it increase the risk of pleural mesothelioma in those who are exposed to asbestos. Research has proven that the combination of smoking and the exposure to asbestos can increase the risk of lung cancer by even 50 folds. Conversely, studies have proven that smoking does not affect the risk of lung cancer so dramatically, there are around twice as many cases of asbestos-related lung cancer compared to pleural mesothelioma. In addition, what is worth noting is the fact that lung cancer risk will fall after smoking cessation, yet the risk of pleural mesothelioma only increase with age. Our body cannot recover from the exposure to asbestos the way it can from the exposure to smoking, and since asbestos fibers can get trapped in various bodily tissues indefinitely, long-term damage can carry on for several decades. The risk of lung cancer may fall with time and smoking cessation, yet the risk of mesothelioma will continue to increase.

The Diagnostic Tools are Similar

Doctors commonly use the same diagnostic tools to diagnose these cancers. X-ray, or other imaging scans, biopsy or bronchoscopy are used to diagnose and differentiate pleural mesothelioma from lung cancer.X-rays and copious imaging scans, such as PET or CT scans, can help doctors to identifyany suspicious masses close to the lungs. Bronchoscopy includes the insertion of tube down throat into the large airways so as to check for abnormal growth, and it is used in diagnosing lung cancer. A biopsy includes the collection of tissue sample with long needle or minor surgery. Biopsy collection strategies can vary, which depends on which cancer is detected or suspected. Biopsy samples are checked by pathologist in order to decipher which cancer is detected from cellular level. This denotes the most accurate as well as definitive way to differ pleural mesothelioma and lung cancer. At microscopic level, pleural mesothelioma can resemble adenocarcinoma, which is the most common kind of non-small cell lung cancer. It also can resemble sarcoma, which is a cancer with common growth in soft tissue. Pathology test is the primary standard when it deals with cancer diagnosis and offers assurance of the official diagnosis.


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