About 2,000 new cases of malignant mesothelioma are diagnosed in the US every year, according to the National Cancer Institute. The incidence is about nine cases per 1 million people internationally.
In the autumn of 2004, the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported an increase in deaths from exposure to asbestos. Although the use of asbestos has declined significantly in recent decades, the number of asbestos-related deaths has increased.
This mortality rate is expected to increase at least over the next ten years, according to statistics compiled in a CDC report. Asbestosis, caused by the inhalation of asbestos, a fibrous growth can cause scar tissue in the lungs and ultimately lead to the inability of the patient to breathe. Deaths due to asbestosis went from a peak of 77 in 1986 to 1,493 in 2000. This disease, which is characterized by dyspnoea and constant cough, is linked to an increased risk of mesothelioma, now causing more deaths than silicosis and black lung disease. This is the most common cause of all respiratory disease-related work.
The confirmation of the CDC that the number of dead victims continues to increase despite the reduced use of asbestos, based on the difference between the first exposure to asbestos and the development of asbestosis and death. It can take up to 45 years. In 1998, asbestosis surpassed the black pulmonary disease as the most common cause of death for respiratory diseases related to work because the decline in coal production was partial and partly because the time incubation led to the formation of asbestosis in many asbestos workers.
CDC came to these conclusions after going through death certificates for over 125,000 people with pulmonary problems associated with inhaling dust or mineral fibers such as carbon, asbestos, and sand.
The prognosis for malignant mesothelioma is 11 months and is almost always fatal. The survival rate is dependent on the type of mesothelioma. The sarcomatoid cancer is more aggressive with an average survival rate of about 9.4 months. Epithelioid cancer and cancer biphasic (or mixed) have slightly longer survival rates at 12.5 and 11 months.
Malignant mesothelioma is not related to race or gender because asbestos exposition is the main risk factor. Exposure to asbestos is directly linked to at least 50 percent of mesothelioma cases.
About 8 million people in the US were exposed to asbestos at the workplace. The family members who are exposed to the rest as best dust work clothes are also at risk. The risk of developing lung cancer is five times higher in people exposed to asbestos. For those who have been smoking and have had asbestos, the possibility of developing mesothelioma is 55 times higher than normal.
Studies show that mesothelioma is three times more common in men than women, but this is due to exposure to asbestos and not sex. Among the men with mesothelioma, a study on the falls showed that 45% had a history of asbestos exposure and 53% had occupational exposure to asbestos. Most of the men were railway workers, construction workers, ship mechanics, and automotive mechanics.
Malignant mesothelioma has a peak incidence around 40 years after exposure to asbestos, and it usually develops when a person is between 50 and 70 years.