Asbestosis is a type of fibrosis or scarring of the lungs caused by asbestos fibres which have been lodged in the lungs after inhalation. Asbestosis particularly affects people who have breathed in substantial amounts of asbestos dust.
The pleura consists of a double layered membrane which surrounds the lungs and lines the inside of the rib cage. Certain asbestos fibres inhaled into the lungs manipulate their way out to the pleura and can cause fibrosis or scarring to occur there.
Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of the lungs, and can be called malignant pleural mesothelioma. The disease can also affect the lining of the stomach and when it does it is known as peritoneal mesothelioma.
Exposure to asbestos increases the risk of developing lung cancer. A very important point is that asbestos exposure and smoking act together to produce a huge increase in risk of lung cancer in people exposed to both hazards.