Is Mesothelioma the Same as Lung Cancer?

We know that both mesothelioma and lung cancer are deadly diseases. It is true that when you know about a particular illness, handling it becomes easier. However, both of them differ in their causes, diagnostic processes, treatment, and survival rates. Even the magnitude to which they develop in the human body is different. Some doctors say that people who have lung cancer might fall prey to mesothelioma later in their lives. There is trivia about the question: Is mesothelioma the same as lung cancer?

If you have ever heard the doctors talking about lung cancer during the diagnostic process, they often use the term mesothelioma.

It is time that we address the question of what is the difference between mesothelioma and lung cancer. Some clarity concerning this question will help us treat it better if our loved ones or we fall prey to any of these diseases.

Before referring to what is the difference between lung cancer and mesothelioma, let us address these diseases separately.


We know that mesothelioma is rare cancer that pops up from the thin tissue layers and spreads up to the internal organs. Mesothelioma may affect the abdominal lining, pleura, or chest walls. Mesothelioma may even hit the membrane that surrounds the testis in males.

Click here if you aim at knowing more about mesothelioma.

Types of Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is of four types, considering the body parts that it can affect. The four types of mesothelioma are as follows.

Now, have a look at some of the mesothelioma causes.

Most Potential Mesothelioma Causes and Risk Factors

Let us look at some of the mesothelioma causes and risk factors in a person.


Mesothelioma is an asbestos-related disease. One of the leading causes of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. Asbestos exposure at any time in a person’s life may make him or her vulnerable to mesothelioma. Even the near ones of the one who is susceptible to asbestos are at the risk of falling prey to mesothelioma.


However, smoking alone does not take the face of mesothelioma. A combination of asbestos exposure and smoking has the potential of causing mesothelioma in a person.

Receiving Radiations

If you have been on radiation therapy for some disease, beware! Exposure to such radiations might act as an invitation to the deadly mesothelioma in your life.


If your ancestors were the ones who dealt with mesothelioma, there are chances that you might have to face it too. According to some studies, the cause of mesothelioma in around 1% of the total cases was that their parents or ancestors had it.

Now, let us look at the mesothelioma signs and symptoms.

Signs and Symptoms of Mesothelioma

Some of the common symptoms of mesothelioma are as follows.

  • Sudden loss of weight
  • Fever
  • Thinning of blood
  • Fatigue and lethargy
  • Sudden sweating

The mesothelioma stomach symptoms are as follows.

  • Digestion problems and bowel movement issues
  • Pain and swelling in the stomach due to fluid buildup
  • Lumps in the abdomen

Some of the symptoms of the pericardial mesothelioma are as follows.

  • Chest pain
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Breathing problems
  • Fluid formation around the heart

Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma are as follows.

  • Breathing problems
  • Fluid buildup around the chest (pleural effusion)
  • Pain around that area and the chest

Now that we know about what is mesothelioma let us move towards what is lung cancer.

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Lung Cancer

A condition in which an out of control division of cells leads to tumor formation in the lungs is known as lung cancer. The division of cells that is out of control makes it difficult for a person to breathe.

Types of Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is of two types according to how it appears from the microscopic view. Going by the medical sciences, lung cancer is of two types, which are as follows.

Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC)

When the lung cancer cells appear to be like oats, it indicates that a person has small cell lung cancer. It is also known as the ‘oat cells’ cancer. Less than 20% of lung cancers are small-cell lung cancer.

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC)

NSCLC is the common type of lung cancer. Every 9 out of 10 lung cancer cases are that of non-small cell lung cancer. It has three subtypes: squamous cell lung cancer, adenocarcinoma of the lungs, and large cell undifferentiated carcinoma.

So, these are the two types of lung cancers that a person can have.

Lung Cancer Causes and Risk Factors

One can be an easy target for lung cancer in case he or she smokes. Consumption of tobacco is another way of becoming a soft target. Exposure to radioactive gases is another cause of
lung cancer.

Consumption of certain vitamin-based dietary supplements may lead to lung cancer. Air pollution and the use of arsenic-rich drinking water can also cause lung cancer. Beware if you smoke marijuana or e-cigarettes. Lung cancer might find you sometime in your life.

Lung Cancer Signs and Symptoms

Some symptoms of lung cancer are as follows.

  • Coughing for a longer time
  • Bloody coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sudden loss of weight without any efforts

If you are vulnerable to any of these risk factors or notice any of the symptoms of lung cancer, see your doctor ASAP.

Now, we are aware of what is mesothelioma and what is lung cancer. It is time that we address that trivia that revolves around the question of what is the difference between mesothelioma and lung cancer.

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Mesothelioma vs. Lung Cancer

A confusion revolves around the question of what is the difference between mesothelioma and lung cancer. To answer this question, we would say that yes, there is a difference between mesothelioma and lung cancer.

They are different in terms of how both of them affect the human body. Not only this, the causes of mesothelioma and lung cancer also differ from each other. Lung cancer and mesothelioma are also different when it comes to their diagnostic process and treatment. Both of them also have different survival rates.

Rarity of the Disease

Mesothelioma is the rarest form of cancer. On the other hand, lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer that affects human beings.

In the USA, around 222,500 cases of lung cancer are registered annually. However, for mesothelioma, just 2800 cases of all types of mesothelioma are diagnosed annually.

Difference in How they Affect the Human Body

Mesothelioma is cancer that affects the linings that surround the abdomen, chest, lungs, and testicles (in males). On one side, mesothelioma destroys mesothelium cells. On the other side, it is important to know that lung cancer affects the lungs from within. The formation of tumor cells or masses within one or both lungs is known as lung cancer.

Both Have Different Causes Altogether

Mesothelioma and lung cancer are different in terms of their causes apart from how they affect the human body.

Asbestos and Mesothelioma

The leading cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos in any form. Asbestos alone is not capable of increasing the risk of lung cancer in a person. Exposure to asbestos in the workplace is harmful. If one’s relatives work in places where asbestos exposure is there, then the family members of that person need to be careful.

Smoking and Lung Cancer

The consumption of tobacco and smoking can lead to lung cancer. Smoking alone cannot result in mesothelioma. A combination of both smoking and asbestos exposure increases the risk of mesothelioma in a person.

It is worth noticing that the primary cause of mesothelioma is asbestos exposure. However, lung cancer is the result of numerous reasons. The leading causes of lung cancer are smoking, air pollution, tobacco, and exposure to pesticides.

The Difference in The Growth Tendency

Mesothelioma is cancer that affects the lining that protects the organs. Lung cancer affects a particular part of the lungs or both of them thoroughly.

A mesothelioma is a cancer form that starts from the lining of the abdomen, stomach, or chest. It can spread to the lining of parts of the body. Lung cancer is the growth of tumor cells in a part of the lungs and is limited to that boundary itself.

Diagnostic Differences

The doctors use similar processes and tools for the diagnostic process of mesothelioma and lung cancer. They perform the same tests, such as X- rays, CT scans, and PET scans. Biopsy and bronchoscopy also help in the diagnostic processes of the later stages of mesothelioma and lung cancer.

The main difference lies in the outcomes of biopsies for mesothelioma and lung cancer. In the case of mesothelioma, the cancerous biopsy outcomes appear like adenocarcinomas. The result of the biopsy in the case of lung cancer is entirely different.

Diagnostic results of mesothelioma might show pleural thickening or fluid formation. The diagnostic results of lung cancer do not display any such thickening or effusions.

Treatment options

Mesothelioma and lung cancer have common ways of treatment. But, there is a difference in the types of surgery, chemotherapy drugs, and radiation therapies.


Surgery for lung cancers means the removal of a part of the lungs that have cancerous cells. Mesothelioma surgery is the removal of the pleural lining that surrounds the lungs, abdomen, or chest. Several pain relief surgeries also prove helpful in the treatment of mesothelioma.


Chemotherapy is a part of the treatment for both lung cancer and mesothelioma. Pemetrexed and cisplatin are the chemotherapy drugs that act against mesothelioma. Docetaxel, vinorelbine, and paclitaxel are the drugs that aid in chemotherapy for lung cancer.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy acts as a supportive treatment in combination with surgery and chemotherapy. In mesothelioma, radiation therapy helps in creating the path for biopsies.

However, in the case of lung cancer, radiation therapy doesn’t serve any such purpose.

Difference in Their Survival Rates

There is a vast difference in the survival rates of mesothelioma and lung cancer.

After one year of correct diagnosis, the survival rate of mesothelioma patients is somewhere around 39%. The survival rates of people with one-year-old lung cancer are approximately 42%.

After ten years of diagnosis, the survival rate of mesothelioma patients is 4%, while that of lung cancer patients is 10%. We can say that the survival rates of lung cancer patients are better than that of mesothelioma patients.

Now, we have clarity about what is the difference between mesothelioma and lung cancer.

However, both these cancers have some commonalities as well. We must know about those similarities also.

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How is Mesothelioma the Same as Lung Cancer?

Some things mark the commonalities between mesothelioma and lung cancer.

A few such similarities are as follows.


The initial symptoms of both types of cancers are the same. Some common symptoms of mesothelioma and lung cancer are as follows.

  • Breathing problems
  • Chest pain
  • Loss of weight
  • fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue


The stage determination of both cancers is similar in the initial stages. After the third stage, mesothelioma starts spreading to the neighboring linings. Nothing like this happens with lung cancer.


The doctors use similar tools and techniques for the diagnosis of lung cancer and mesothelioma. Some tests and scans for their determination are as follows.

  • X rays
  • CT and PET scans
  • Biopsy
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Sputum cytology test

So, these were the few points that draw a connection between mesothelioma and lung cancer.

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Following the article, we can say that both cancers are mostly distinct from each other.

Mesothelioma is rare cancer that affects the pleural lining. While lung cancer affects the lungs as a whole. Not only do they differ in their causes. There is a considerable difference in their diagnostic and treatment processes as well. The level to which mesothelioma and lung cancer can affect one’s body is also different.

We hope that this article proves helpful in adding to the readers’ awareness about the factual differences between the rarest and the most common cancer in the world.

Remember, awareness is a way of fighting any situation in a better manner.

Stay aware; stay prepared!

Disclaimer: The blogger in this article does not claim any information in this article. This is a genuine research-oriented article that combines the data. However, the readers are advised to use their wisdom while following the information in this article. The blogger shall not be responsible for any negative or positive outcomes of this article in the lives of its readers.


Khyati is a Graduate in English literature and a German literate. Passionate about writing, she is an aspiring poetess, a professional blogger and website content writer. She loves to share her ideas and suggestions about health with this website as her medium. Keen about fitness, she is always up for a healthy lifestyle that promotes an overall development well being.

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