What are the Main Differences Between Mesothelioma and Asbestosis?
Nicole Winch | October 28, 2020
Mesothelioma and asbestosis are two common diseases associated with asbestos exposure. While they possess some of the same qualities, each disease significantly differs from each other.
Those who are at risk for mesothelioma (miners, construction workers, electricians, military veterans, etc.) are also the same groups of people at risk for developing asbestosis.
A commonality that these diseases share is the latency period between the time of exposure and the development of the disease. Each disease typically takes at least 20 years to develop from the start of exposures. However, mesothelioma can take up to 50 years to emerge.
If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, there are compensation options available. At BCBH Law, our attorneys have fought numerous legal battles on behalf of asbestos exposure victims. Oftentimes, recovered mesothelioma compensation has helped families pay for treatment, lost wages and other unforeseen expenses due to their loved ones cancer.
So, What are the Differences?
Asbestosis and mesothelioma are both diseases that occur after asbestos exposure. The primary difference between the two is that mesothelioma is a rare cancer, while asbestosis is non-cancerous. However, both diseases occur in the chest and can have severe impacts on the lungs.
The nature of how these two diseases develop varies significantly. Asbestosis is a chronic respiratory disease that is limited to the lungs and respiratory tract. After prolonged asbestos exposure, inhaled fibers cause lung scarring and stiffness. This prevents patients from taking full, deep breaths.
Mesothelioma is a cancer of the mesothelium, a thin tissue that lines the lungs, chest cavity and abdomen. When asbestos fibers become lodged in any of these areas, cells become damaged and can turn cancerous.
Unfortunately, there are no cures for either disease, however asbestosis patients can survive several decades with treatment. The average life expectancy for mesothelioma patients is between 12 and 21 months depending on their stage and mesothelioma cell type. Your doctor will be able to determine the best treatment plan based on your diagnosis.
How are They Similar?
Mesothelioma and asbestosis share many of the same symptoms, such as:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness and pain
- Persistent dry cough
- Loss of weight and appetite
- General fatigue and weakness
Mesothelioma patients will generally experience these symptoms earlier in their disease and more severely compared to asbestosis patients. Patients with asbestosis may not endure severe symptoms until years after their diagnosis.
There are some symptoms that only asbestosis patients may experience such as clubbing of the fingers and nails due to a lack of oxygen in your blood. This may indicate an underlying heart or lung issue.
Like mesothelioma, asbestosis patients are entitled to compensation for their disease. Many people were unaware of their asbestos exposure at the time and were given little warning of its damaging health effects.
Asbestosis patients often face the challenge of connecting their disease to a specific exposure incident. In this case, they must provide a detailed summary of their work history in order to successfully file a lawsuit or asbestos trust fund claim. Fill out our free case evaluation form today to see what legal options are available for you or your loved one.