New Global Mesothelioma Case Epidemic Reported
A new study reports that the number of mesothelioma cases is on the rise globally. Italian researchers who meticulously compiled and analyzed international mesothelioma facts say it has reached epidemic proportions in parts of the world and is unlikely to slow down.
The new mesothelioma case trend surprisingly turned up in several European countries. The report, published in the Indian Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, found the highest number of mesothelioma cases in the UK, The Netherlands, Malta and Belgium as well as in Australia and New Zealand. They also found that in many countries data on mesothelioma is not collected and no mesothelioma facts or statistics were available.
The number of mesothelioma deaths reported in the UK increased from 153 in 1968 to 2,360 in 2010, with about 3.6 cases per 100,000 men and 0.5 per 100,000 women. The United States in comparison ranked in the middle range of the countries studied. In the period 2003-2008 over 3000 cases were diagnosed each year, with a high of 3284 in 2005. The incidence was 1.93 per 100,000 among men and 0.41 among women.
Mesothelioma is a lethal cancer caused by being exposed to asbestos. It may take decades for symptoms to emerge so a diagnosis can be made. Unfortunately, the average survival time of those with malignant forms of the disease is ten to fourteen months. The prognosis for a long life expectancy is not good even when symptoms appear early and treatment begins quickly.
“Asbestos has been banned in 55 countries. The inhabitants of such countries (about 1,110,000,000) correspond to 16% of the world population. This means that asbestos use continues in a large part of the world,” the researchers state.
For their report, researchers Claudio and Tommaso Bianchi of the Center for the Study of Environmental Cancer in Monfalcone, Italy studied mesothelioma case data from cancer registries around the world. They supplemented this data with information from mesothelioma researchers in other countries.
They conclude, “On the basis of global asbestos consumption in the last decades, one may predict that a further mesothelioma wave will involve large geographic areas. A lack of data does not allow an adequate assessment of the risk to be made. The epidemic of asbestos-related diseases in general and of mesothelioma in particular requires that the problem is faced in a more incisive way by health international institutions.”