Difference Between Mesothelioma and Asbestosis

Mesothelioma and Asbestosis show breathing difficulty in the affected patient as they usually affect the lungs. The difference between Asbestosis and Mesothelioma is that Asbestosis is a chronic lung disease whereas Mesothelioma is a cancer condition. But Asbestosis increases the risk of developing lung cancer.


Asbestosis is a disease condition caused by asbestos inhalation. The asbestos is used in roof sheets usually. The people exposed to asbestos dust will develop asbestosis. This is an occupational hazard also. The people working with asbestos will develop the disease condition. In this disease the lung tissue which is essential for gas exchange will lose its function slowly and change as fibrous tissue. So the effect of oxygenation will be reduced as this tissue is not capable of transferring the gases. This is a chronic disease. This disease condition will progress slowly and finally respiratory failure will results. The pneumonia is common in the patient with asbestosis.

There is no cure for asbestosis. Only way to prevent this disease is to reduce the chances to expose to asbestos fibres. The patient will feel difficulty in breathing. The amount of oxygen transferred to blood is less. So giving oxygen may help to relieve the symptoms. Asbestosis is a risk factor for developing lung cancer and mesothelioma (another type of cancer which may arise from the lung covering)


Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer, which can arise from the covering of the organs. Usually the organs are covered by a mesothelial covering. The lung is covered by pleura. The heart is covered by pericardium. The testis is coved by tunica vaginalis. From these coverings mesothelioma can occur. However the pleural (lung covering) cancer will be more with asbestos inhalation.

Like asbestosis the patient may come with difficulty in breathing. However the investigations like CT scan and pleural biopsy will help to identify the cancer condition. The patient will lose weight suddenly (like in other cancers). The treatments for Mesothelioma are surgery, radiotherapy and chemo (drug) therapy. However the outcome of the disease is POOR.

In summary,

¤ Asbestosis is a chronic lung disease which is caused by asbestos.

¤ Mesothelioma is a cancer condition which arises from the coverings of the organs.

¤ Asbestosis and mesothilioma usually affect the lungs.

¤ Both will cause difficulty in breathing.

¤ Asbestosis is not a cancer condition itself, but increases the risk of developing cancer.

¤ Both diseases carries a poor outcome.

¤ Avoiding asbestos will help to prevent the disease.