Global rates of mesothelioma increasing, countries with asbestos bans faring better

Global rates of mesothelioma increasing, countries with asbestos bans faring better

According to a new study published this week, the global incidence of mesothelioma and associated deaths increased from 1990 to 2017.

Zhen Zhai MD from the Zhejiang University in China, along with colleagues, examined the estimated global mesothelioma burden and the epidemiologic distribution of cases over the period. Individuals from 195 countries and territories were included as diagnosed with mesothelioma.

The research indicates what has long been suspected – that new cases and deaths from mesothelioma are rising.

In 2017, researchers identified more than 34,000 new cases of the disease and close to 30,000 deaths, with more than 70 per cent of those deaths among men.

To compare, in 1990, the number of incident cases was just over 21,000, and the number of deaths was 17,406. Globally, there was an increase in both incident cases and deaths during the studied period.

More than half of the cases were recorded in areas where there is a high socioeconomic index level.

Over time, as is expected with diseases that have a long latency period, the proportion of cases in people over 70 increased. In countries where asbestos and asbestos-containing products have been banned for 20 years or more, mesothelioma incident cases began to decrease.

“Banning asbestos was associated with reductions in the increase of mesothelioma incidence and mortality; however, the association between mesothelioma and previous exposure to asbestos remains a concern,” the authors write.

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