3 Conditions That Mesothelioma Is Mistaken For

3 Conditions That Mesothelioma Is Mistaken For

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer. Asbestos exposure is the primary cause of mesothelioma. There are treatments for mesothelioma, but one of the reasons that people fail to get the help they need is because the condition is often misdiagnosed. Below is a list of conditions that mesothelioma may be mistaken for:

Lung Cancer

Mesothelioma may be mistaken for lung cancer. Both of these conditions may have similar symptoms. Some of the mesothelioma symptoms include weight loss, fatigue, shortness of breath, breathing problems and coughing. Patients with lung cancer may have the same symptoms.

Both of these conditions can quickly spread throughout the body if they are not treated. However, there are major differences in these conditions. Lung cancer occurs when masses develop inside of the lungs. Mesothelioma affects the lining of the lungs. It can also affect the lining of the heart, abdomen or testicles.

While asbestos exposure is the primary cause of mesothelioma, lung cancer can be caused by a number of factors. Experts believe that radon exposure, smoking and genetics are the main causes of lung cancer. Smoking plays a role in lung cancer risk, but it does not seem to have an effect on mesothelioma risk.

There are a variety of tests that doctors can perform to accurately diagnose both conditions. This may include biopsies, x-rays and sputum cytology. A biopsy involves removing a portion of tissue and checking it for abnormal cells. Sputum cytology involves examining the sputum, which is the substance coughed up, for abnormal cells.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome is a disorder that affects the large intestine. It causes a number of unpleasant digestive symptoms, including bloating, gas and diarrhea. Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the abdominal cavity lining. It is estimated that 20 percent of patients with mesothelioma have peritoneal mesothelioma.

Patients with peritoneal mesothelioma may have digestive issues. That is why peritoneal mesothelioma may be mistaken for irritable bowel syndrome. While irritable bowel syndrome is a nuisance, it is not life-threatening. There are also a variety of treatment options for it. However, peritoneal mesothelioma is life-threatening and can be difficult to treat. A diagnostic biopsy and MRI test can prevent a misdiagnosis.


Like mesothelioma, adenocarcinoma is a rare form of cancer. It affects the glands in the body that secrete mucus. Patients who have lung cancer, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer and colon cancer are more likely to develop adenocarcinoma. Mesothelioma is often mistaken for adenocarcinoma.

Two have some factors in common, but there are important differences. The two conditions affect different areas of the body. It is also harder to determine the causes of adenocarcinoma. Doctors may recommend a biopsy, MRI and CT scan in order to confirm a diagnosis.