Mesothelioma Lung Cancer
Mesothelioma, in its most common form is a cancer that develops in the pleural lining of the lung, known as the mesothelium. While by definition, mesothelioma is not a lung cancer, it is often mistaken as one because the most common variety originates in a similar locality, though not in the lung itself. For this reason mesothelioma is often misdiagnosed because of its similarities with lung cancer.
Mesothelioma manifests in other varieties outside the pleura as well. Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the abdominal lining. Pericardial mesothelioma is a sub-classification of the disease which originates within the lining of the heart. So to say that mesothelioma is a lung cancer would not only be inaccurate, it would also be excluding other important, yet less prevalent classifications of the disease.
Symptomatically, pleural mesothelioma and lung cancer are very similar. Each would likely be accompanied by the chronic cough and chest pains that we associate with lung cancer. Pleural mesothelioma may even be misdiagnosed by a unfamiliar physician in a standard chest scan because their rate of spread and division are likewise quite similar to small cell lung cancers.
It is important however that a thorough diagnosis be performed on each patient, as mesothelioma treatment and management is very different than that of lung cancer. If a chest or other body scan (i.e. computer topography or magnetic resonance image) indicate a growth in the body, they may no conclusively diagnose the growth as mesothelioma. In fact, it is typically not until after a biopsy, in which a small piece of cancer tissue will be examined under the microscope that a conclusive diagnosis can be made of mesothelioma. Each patient should insist the accuracy of their diagnosis before proceeding forward with treatment. The best treatment option for treating mesothelioma may not be the best option for treating traditional lung cancers and it is important that patients have access to the treatment that will be most effective for their particular case.
- Mayo Clinic for Medical Education and Research. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/lung-cancer/DS00038
- National Cancer Institute: Small Cell Lung Cancer Treatment http://www.cancer.gov/cancerinfo/pdq/treatment/small-cell-lung/healthprofessional/
- American Cancer Society: Overview: Lung Cancer - Non Small Cellhttp://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/content/CRI_2_2_4x_How_Is_Non-small_Cell_Lung_Cancer_Treated.asp?rnav=cri
Last modified: February 15, 2010.