Cancer is the malignant growth of cells in the human body. It comes in many forms and each seems to have its own method of causing havoc. Given the variety of cancers, it is hardly surprising that some are inadvertently mixed up when discussed. This is often the case with Mesothelioma and lung cancer.
The first thing to understand is neither Mesothelioma nor lung cancer is ever a diagnosis you want to have. They represent two of the more difficult forms of cancer to treat. That being said, it is often assumed that one is the other and vice versa. This is often due to the fact that Mesothelioma is associated with the inhalation of asbestos which obviously incorporates the lungs. In truth, the two are unique and different. Let's take a look.
As the name suggests, lung cancer is the growth of mutated cells in the lungs. Unfortunately, it is one of the most common form of cancers, most often linked to smoking and the generally polluted environment we live in. There are different types of lung cancer. While they may spread beyond the lungs, all originate there.
Mesothelioma is not only a brutal form of cancer, it is difficult to pronounce. The name comes from the part of the body effected, the mesothelium. This is a thin lining found throughout the abdomen and chest area. The lining surrounds the major organs and acts as a protective layer. It is actually comprised of two layers with a lubricant found between them. This gives the encased organs the ability to move without being damaged by friction. Examples of such movement would include the heart beating or lungs expanding and contracting.
Mesothelioma is the cancerous growth of cells in this lining. It does not matter where the lining is located. The cancer can be in the lining around the heart, the lungs, the colon or anywhere in the general chest cavity. Mesothelioma does not originate in the lungs per se, but often is found in the mesothelium surrounding the lungs. It can then transition into the lungs.
In summary, Mesothelioma and lung cancer are two distinct forms of abnormal cell growth in the body. They can both impact the lungs, but only lung cancer actually originates in them.