Too often, the outcome of a court case claim for mesothelioma compensation may be dependent on establishing a sufficient causal connection between asbestos exposure and the contracting of asbestos related-disease, such as asbestosis or pleural plaques.  The degree of influence over the development of consequential debilitation and extent of reduced quality of life are also factors taken into account.

It is therefore, crucially important that precise and detailed medical diagnoses is brought as a main plank support when an abestosis lawyer prepares the claim for asbestos compensation.

Although there is no doubt that it is solely the exposure to asbestos material that causes the fatal malignant mesothelioma cancer, asbestos symptoms are very similar to lung cancer and asbestos awareness is key to developing crucial recognition and understanding of the differences between the two.

Tissue Areas

One of the reasons that the two diseases are often confused is that exposure to asbestos can cause both, even though the two occur in different tissues of the body. Lung cancer affects the lung tissue itself, whereas mesothelioma attacks the pleura, the thin membrane which lines the inside of the chest cavity and both covers the lungs and other organs.

Mesothelioma may later spread to the lung tissue, but it always begins in the mesothelium, the linings of the chest cavity. Although pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of the cancer, it can also strike the surrounding, protective lining of the stomach ( peritoneal) or heart (pericardial).

Causes

Asbestos exposure is the primary cause of mesothelioma, although there are some other possible, but not conclusively linked causes of the disease, lung cancer may be caused by a number of factors, or a combination. Smoking, secondhand smoking, a family history of the disease, and exposure to radon gas are all definitively linked to a higher incidence of lung cancer diagnoses.

Character and Growth

Although patients diagnosed with lung cancer may have large or multiple tumours, they tend to be individually, concentrated masses with clearly defined boundaries. This makes them easier for a surgeon to remove, thereby increasing the chances of cure and recovery.

Mesothelioma, on the other hand, is characterised by diffuse malignancies and the “tumour” is not contained in a single mass but instead, spreads across the surface of the mesothelium, making it extremely difficult to surgically remove. In later stages, mesothelioma can actually encase the lung in a rind-like shape.

For the same reasons, lung cancer is more receptive to chemotherapy and radiation, whereas both of these therapies are usually unable to inhibit the growth of the diffuse malignant tissues in mesothelioma.

Occurrence Rates

Another significant difference between these two types of cancer is their rates of occurrence. The decline in cigarette smoking will undoubtedly cause lung cancer rates to fall, but mesothelioma rates are expected to peak in the coming decade, because the disease has such a long latency period, of up to 40 years or more.

Survival Rates

Neither cancer has a particularly high survival rate, but the prognosis for lung cancer is generally less grim than for mesothelioma. Depending on the stage, lung cancer patients have a five-year survival rate between 15 and 75 percent, but fewer than 10 percent of mesothelioma patients live two years or longer past diagnosis.

Typically, those who learn that they have malignant pleural mesothelioma only live a few months and thus, the consequential impact on securing compensation becomes acute.