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Facts and Statistics about Mesothelioma

There are around 3,000 new cases being diagnosed each year in the U.S.

Posted in: Articles August 11, 2016 By Stan Gottfredson Read by 833 Users

Learning key statistics about mesothelioma can help patients and their families better understand the disease and make more educated decisions about their health. There are around 3,000 new cases being diagnosed each year, so mesothelioma is considered to be a fairly a rare type of cancer in the United States.

However, the rate of mesothelioma in our country increased from the 1970s to the early 1990s, but after the 90s, the disease has seen a decline, which is believed to be related to changes in workplace exposures to asbestos. Unfortunately, the rate of mesothelioma is still increasing in many other countries across the globe. Due to the changes in asbestos exposure, this year, the number of mesothelioma cases is expected to reach the highest level ever recorded and then sharply decline as time passes.

Did you know that it takes more than three months to diagnose mesothelioma?


Types of Mesothelioma

When asbestos is inhaled or ingested, cancer will develop in the mesothelium, which is the membrane that surrounds many of the body’s vital organs. This membrane secretes a lubricating fluid that eases organ movement within the body. When the mesothelium becomes cancerous, the disease is called mesothelioma. The form of the cancer is determined by the location in which the tumor develops, known as the origin site, and the type of cells that the tumor invades. Different treatments are required for each type.

The most common form is pleural mesothelioma (80%), which occurs when cancer attacks the pleural tissue surrounding the lungs. Many people mistakenly think this is lung cancer, because of the pleura's proximity to the lung. It is possible for the cancer ton spread from the pleura into the lung, but the origin site is the actual pleural tissue surrounding the lung, and not the lung itself.

Peritoneal mesothelioma is the second most common type of cancer, which develops in the majority of other cases. Pericardial mesothelioma and tunica vaginalis (testicular mesothelioma) are also possible forms of the disease, but they are very rare and occur in less than 1% of the cases.

Asbestos Facts and Statistics

Asbestos is the cause of 1 in every 3 deaths from occupational cancer, which appears after working with certain materials over a period of time. Asbestos was common on over 300 products in the US military and was extensively used on military vessels during the WW2. Nowadays, asbestos fibers are found in roofing shingles & insulation, and many automobile products.

There are 2 different kinds of asbestos fibers: serpentine and amphibole. Amphibole fibers have been known to be more dangerous due to their shape which allows them to “lodge” into the mesothelial tissue. Here are a few statistics on asbestos:

  • Asbestos is a fibrous mineral used in various products because it is highly resistant to heat, fire, and chemicals.
  • Most people exposed to asbestos are/were their workplace.
  • Asbestos is the only proven cause of mesothelioma.
  • More than 125 million people have been exposed to asbestos in the workplace.
  • Since 1979, approximately 45,000 Americans have died from asbestos-related diseases, including asbestosis and mesothelioma.
  • Asbestos is banned in 55 countries, but not in the US.
  • 30 million pounds of asbestos is still used in the United States every year.
  • The US imported over 1,606 tons of asbestos materials in 2012.

Mesothelioma Facts and Statistics

  • Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos.
  • It is one of the rarest forms of cancer and affects approximately one person in every 166,000.
  • 2.000-3.000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year in the US.
  • More than 100/000 US citizens are expected to die of mesothelioma during the next 40 years.
  • There is no cure available for mesothelioma yet.
  • Mesothelioma symptoms may not appear for 20-50 years after the initial asbestos exposure.
  • Mesothelioma is much more common in older people.
  • 9 out of every 10 diagnoses affects someone over the age of 60.
  • 69 is the average age at the time of diagnosis for pleural mesothelioma.
  • It is more common in men (80%) than it is in women (20%).
  • It is more common in Whites and Hispanics/Latinos than in African Americans or Asian Americans.
  • The survival rates for patients is constantly improving as research moves forward.
  • There is 1 peritoneal mesothelioma diagnosis for every 12 pleural mesothelioma cases.
  • Mesothelioma diagnoses have increased 4 times over since the 1980′s.

Treatment Facts and Statistics

  • There is currently no cure for mesothelioma.
  • There are many different treatment options available depending on the patient’s diagnosis.
  • If the patient’s diagnosis is in the later stages, treatment is used to provide comfort to the patient.
  • Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC or “Hot Chemo”) is sometimes used in peritoneal mesothelioma patients.
  • HIPEC is applied directly to the abdominal region during cytoreductive surgery to any kill remaining cancer cells.
  • Extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) was developed as a potentially curative option for pleural mesothelioma patients.
  • It is one of the most successful surgical options for mesothelioma patients.
  • During the procedure, the surgeon removes the patient's entire lung, part of the pericardium, and part of the diaphragm.
  • As of April 2015, researchers have conducted nearly 250 clinical trials for mesothelioma worldwide.
  • Only 5% of all cancer patients have taken part in these clinical trials.
  • Palliative treatment options may include a thoracentesis, pleurodesis, or a shunt placement which relieves pressure.

Helping Patients Find the Best Doctor for Their Condition

At MesotheliomaDr, our primary mission is to help patients find the best doctor and the best hospital for their condition. Through this website, we aim to empower all patients and their loved ones to search for experienced doctors who meet their needs. We also work closely with mesothelioma expert physicians to help build a more dedicated care system for mesothelioma patients.Send us your chest X-ray and we will evaluate it in minutes for free! Call us at 760-405-8205 for 24/7 patient assistance.


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