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Are mesothelioma and asbestosis the same illness?

Asbestosis and mesothelioma are two separate illnesses that occur because of asbestos exposure. In the 21st century, exposure to the substance remains a problem despite a widespread reduction of asbestos use. As such, many victims develop mesothelioma or asbestosis in the workplace, by living close to a location contaminated with the substance (e.g. Tennessee Eastman Chemical Company) or by coming into contact with another person exposed to asbestos.

Although they are not the same, the two conditions share many similarities, which can be confusing to victims. For example, the following symptoms occur in patients with either illness.

  • Weight loss
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Persistent cough

Further, victims of either illness often do not experience symptoms for up to 40 years after their exposure to asbestos.

The main difference between these two illnesses is that mesothelioma is a form of cancer while asbestosis is noncancerous. As you might expect, this means that the prognosis for mesothelioma patients is worse than the prognosis for asbestosis patients. Those suffering from mesothelioma also typically experience more severe symptoms.

Asbestosis, while less serious, still results in severe illness and could shorten a victim's lifespan. Many patients with this chronic respiratory condition go on to develop lung cancer or even mesothelioma. However, treatment options exist for sufferers of this condition to help alleviate its symptoms and slow its progression. Both illnesses are incurable at this time.

Because asbestos use has proven to be deadly, victims have the right to pursue a legal remedy for harm they suffered by exposure to the substance. It is wise for anyone experiencing the symptoms of asbestosis and mesothelioma to seek a medical opinion. Upon confirmation of either condition, the logical next step is consulting an attorney to talk about acquiring compensation for your suffering.

Source: Mesothelioma Guide, "Mesothelioma vs. Asbestosis," accessed May 31, 2018

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