How Mesothelioma is Misdiagnosed as Emphysema: A Detailed Explanation


Greetings to our esteemed audience, and welcome to this informative article about mesothelioma and emphysema. Both diseases are life-threatening and mostly affect the lungs. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart, while emphysema is a chronic lung disease that damages the air sacs in the lungs. However, it is not uncommon for mesothelioma to be misdiagnosed as emphysema due to some similar symptoms, leading to delayed treatment and further complications. In this article, we will explore how mesothelioma is misdiagnosed as emphysema and why it is crucial to seek medical attention when experiencing related symptoms.

How is Mesothelioma Misdiagnosed as Emphysema?

Many mesothelioma symptoms are similar to those of emphysema, leading to misdiagnosis.

1. Shortness of Breath

Shortness of breath is one of the most common and early symptoms of both mesothelioma and emphysema. As a result, patients may assume that it is just a mere respiratory issue that will go away, leading to further complications.

2. Chest Pain

Chest pain is another symptom that both mesothelioma and emphysema patients experience. Patients with emphysema assume that it is just part of their disease and do not seek medical attention until the pain becomes unbearable. In contrast, patients with mesothelioma may also assume that it is just a chest pain and may not seek medical attention until the condition becomes severe.

3. Chronic Coughing

Coughing is a natural response when our respiratory system is irritated. However, both emphysema and mesothelioma patients experience chronic coughing, which may be a sign of lung damage. Patients may mistake this symptom for a common cold and thus fail to seek medical attention.

4. Fatigue and Weakness

Patients with mesothelioma may experience fatigue and weakness that may be attributed to aging or other common causes. Similarly, those with emphysema may also experience fatigue due to chronic respiratory issues. Patients may not seek medical attention, thinking that it is just normal tiredness.

5. Loss of Appetite and Weight Loss

Weight loss is a common symptom of both mesothelioma and emphysema. Patients may attribute their weight loss to other factors, such as old age, forgetting that it could be an indication of a severe underlying condition.

6. Misread X-rays and CT scans

Despite the obvious differences between mesothelioma and emphysema, some doctors may misread X-rays and CT scans, leading to misdiagnosis. This mistake occurs because the two medical conditions have similar presentations and may be challenging to differentiate on scans.

7. Lack of Awareness

Finally, a lack of awareness regarding mesothelioma may lead to misdiagnosis. Mesothelioma is a rare disease, and doctors may not be looking for it when patients present with symptoms similar to emphysema.

The Table Below Shows How Mesothelioma is Misdiagnosed as Emphysema

Symptom Mesothelioma Emphysema
Shortness of breath
Chest Pain
Chronic Coughing
Fatigue and Weakness
Loss of Appetite and Weight Loss
Misread X-rays and CT scans
Lack of Awareness

Frequently Asked Questions About Mesothelioma Misdiagnosis as Emphysema

1. What are the causes of mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is primarily caused by prolonged exposure to asbestos.

2. Can emphysema be cured?

No cure exists for emphysema. However, treatments, such as medications and lifestyle changes, can help manage symptoms.

3. Can mesothelioma be misdiagnosed as asthma?

Yes, mesothelioma can be misdiagnosed as asthma, especially if the patient is exposed to asbestos.

4. Is a biopsy necessary to diagnose mesothelioma accurately?

Yes. Tissue biopsy is essential to confirm mesothelioma, as other respiratory diseases may have similar symptoms.

5. What kind of compensation is available for mesothelioma patients?

Mesothelioma patients can apply for compensation from the company responsible for their asbestos exposure.

6. How does mesothelioma affect the lungs?

Mesothelioma affects the lining of the lungs, making it hard for the lungs to function correctly.

7. What are the treatment options for mesothelioma?

The treatment options for mesothelioma depend on the stage of the disease, and they include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.

8. Can smoking cause mesothelioma?

No, smoking does not cause mesothelioma. However, smoking increases the risk of developing other respiratory complications, such as emphysema and lung cancer.

9. How does emphysema affect the lungs?

Emphysema damages the air sacs in the lungs, leading to difficulty in breathing.

10. Can mesothelioma spread to other parts of the body?

Yes, mesothelioma can spread to other organs, such as the heart, liver, or brain.

11. Is mesothelioma contagious?

No, mesothelioma is not contagious.

12. Can a chest X-ray detect mesothelioma?

A chest X-ray may indicate that there is something wrong with the lungs, but it cannot confirm mesothelioma. A biopsy is necessary to confirm the diagnosis.

13. Is mesothelioma a death sentence?

Mesothelioma is a severe and often life-threatening disease, but early detection and treatment can improve the chances of survival.


In conclusion, mesothelioma and emphysema are severe respiratory diseases that share similar symptoms. However, it is crucial to seek medical attention when experiencing any of the symptoms to ensure early and accurate diagnosis. Delayed diagnosis can lead to further complications, making it necessary to raise awareness about mesothelioma and its symptoms. We urge our readers to take care of their respiratory health and to seek medical attention if they experience any unusual symptoms.

Closing Disclaimer

This article is for informational purposes only and does not substitute professional medical advice. Every case is different, and patients are urged to seek medical attention for accurate diagnosis and treatment.