Asbestosis vs. Mesothelioma: Understanding the Differences

elderly woman on oxygenExposure to asbestos of any kind can be serious. Individuals in these situations often experience significant problems long down the road that impact their quality of health and life, oftentimes being fatal.

Two of the most common conditions individuals may be diagnosed with after asbestos exposure are asbestosis and mesothelioma. While they are both conditions resulting from the inhalation of asbestos, there are several things that many people don’t know about them.

Because there are misconceptions that individuals have about these two types of conditions, we wanted to take the time to explain some of the differences between them, including symptoms and prognosis, as well as potential treatment options.

What Is Mesothelioma?

You may have seen plenty of commercials regarding mesothelioma and how individuals may have the right to compensation if they’ve been exposed to asbestos. This is because mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is almost always fatal. There is no known cure for the condition and only some treatment options can help to improve the overall quality of life the patient has.

One of the biggest problems with detecting mesothelioma is the extended latency period associated with it. For most exposed to asbestos, it can take anywhere from 10 to 30 years after the exposure before even the slightest sign of a symptom becomes present. By then, any treatment option to remove the cancer cells and tumors may be rendered useless.

Mesothelioma is most often found inside the protective lining of the lungs. However, it’s possible for it to develop within the abdomen, the chest, the heart, or even in the testicles. Every year, roughly 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma, with patients ranging from former construction workers and insulators to mechanics and military veterans.

What Is Asbestosis?

Whereas mesothelioma is considered a form of cancer, asbestosis is not a cancer. However, it does have the potential to develop into lung cancer down the line. It is caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers which can cause scarring of the lungs and impact the breathing of the patient.

It can have a lot of the same effects as mesothelioma, but they typically vary in severity. There are also potential treatment options for asbestosis, but no cure. While asbestosis is not a cancer, there are long-term complications that can impact the quality of life of the patient.

One of the main problems with asbestosis how it impacts the heart and lung issues, causing significant problems with breathing and a lack of oxygen. Sometimes, this can result in clubbing of the fingers and nails, where the patient’s nails become softer, rounder, and wider.

How Do the Two Differ?

When determining the differences between asbestosis and mesothelioma, there are three main factors to consider. This includes symptoms, treatment options, and prognosis. Here are the differences with regards to each of these three factors.

  • Symptoms: Both conditions are associated with similar symptoms, but patients who suffer from mesothelioma are more likely to experience more severe symptoms. This includes shortness of breath, chest pain, lasting cough, and weight loss. When someone has mesothelioma, it can be much worse on the quality of the patient’s life.
  • Treatment: The treatment options for both conditions vary because of the nature of each. Mesothelioma is a cancer and must be treated as such. Asbestosis is not a cancer and can have different treatment options. However, where they are similar is the fact they are both designed to improve the patient’s quality of life over the duration of the prognosis.
  • Prognosis: Asbestosis prognosis can be considered much more favorable than that of mesothelioma. Those diagnosed with asbestosis may have a decreased quality of life and while the condition can be fatal, many patients are able to live for decades following diagnosis. With mesothelioma, the latency period makes it so prognosis is much shorter, and patients are given roughly 4 to 12 months because it is not usually diagnosed until the later stages.

Where They’re the Same

Some of the biggest similarities regarding asbestosis and mesothelioma are often the most difficult to experience. The main factor from the time of diagnosis to the date of death is the overall decrease in quality of life. Those who suffer from either of these conditions will have a hard time doing some of the things they were once able to do.

The shortness of breath can make certain activities much more difficult. The chest pain can be almost unbearable. The overall lack of energy and trouble completing any task can be maddening. But worst of all, knowing that there is no cure can be devastating.

For many, the exposure to asbestos that led to their condition could have been prevented. Many of those who suffer were exposed in the workplace where they should have been given proper equipment to protect from the asbestos fibers. Instead, the companies focused on profit over safety and countless individuals have suffered as a result.

Patients dealing with mesothelioma or asbestosis have specific rights to hold negligent parties accountable. Even the family of the individual has specific rights should the patient pass away as a result of their condition. There is a specific limitation on the time you have to file depending on the state in which you live, so it is best to discuss your rights with an attorney.

Fighting for Those Affected

Any time someone is exposed to asbestos, it can be a scary thing. The latency period makes it so you never truly know how it will affect you until decades down the line. By that time, it’s often too late to receive any kind of treatment to remove the tumors or cancer cells. The most you’re able to do at that point is treat the symptoms of the condition to try and live as comfortably as you can in the time you have left.

Nobody should have to endure this type of life. It’s even worse knowing that it was caused by someone else’s actions. Those responsible should have to accept accountability for what they have done because they failed to protect an employee or discuss the dangers of the working conditions. They should be forced to pay those who have suffered and their families.

Our mesothelioma lawyers don’t just talk about helping victims of these terrible conditions. We’ve been there before and have led countless individuals to the results they need during this very difficult time. We aim to guide our clients in a dark time where they feel as though they have no voice, no options, and no rights.

Instead, our team at Shrader & Associates aims to provide you the hope you need to move forward. Whether you are the mesothelioma patient or you’re the family of someone lost as a result of this condition, know that our team is ready to stand on your side and give you the voice you need to protect yourself and your rights. Let us handle the legal matters so you can focus on yourself and your family as you rightfully should.

Call our firm today at (844) 256-8685 and discuss your potential case with us. We’d be happy to explain your options and help you make decisions that best suit your needs. Trust us to be your advocates during this difficult time.

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