Dementia is not a specific disease. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, dementia is an overall term that describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia.
Mesothelioma is a genetic disease caused by asbestos exposure. Genetic not in the heredity sense, but meaning a gene mutation to cells within the body, which is caused by the presence of asbestos fibers. Mesothelioma is considered an aggressive yet rare malignancy (2,300 diagnoses per year) that grows and develops on the protective tissue lining of internal organs. This lining is known as the mesothelium.
Diagnosis begins with a general doctor, but ultimately must be given by an oncologist, an expert in studying and treating cancer. Because of the rarity of this type of cancer, it is especially beneficial to see a specialty oncologist, someone who works mostly with mesothelioma patients.