New national mesothelioma report released; two Australians diagnosed every day

New national mesothelioma report released; two Australians diagnosed every day

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has released its latest report on the state of mesothelioma in Australia. It is the eleventh report of the Australian Mesothelioma Registry (AMR), a national registry that was formed in 2011.

The report primarily contains information regarding patients diagnosed with mesothelioma in Australia, citing data from January to December in 2021. Some data from earlier years is used to note patterns of change in the incidence rates and mortality.

Mesothelioma is mostly caused by exposure to asbestos-containing material, but it has a latency period of between 20 and 40 years, meaning that cases continue to increase in Australia despite a nation-wide ban.

Australia has one of the highest recorded incidence rates of mesothelioma globally – between 700 and 800 people are diagnosed annually, or two people per day.

The data also looks at information on the patients’ diagnosis, specifically as it relates to their likely exposure. The latest report notes that men are more likely than women to have occupational exposure (accounts for 78% of diagnoses), while almost all women indicated non-occupational exposure (99%).

Upon the release of the report, ACTU Assistant Secretary, Liam O’Brien said that “Mesothelioma is not going away. Asbestos remains the biggest killer of workers in Australia and as long as we have materials in our buildings that contain asbestos, this terrible disease stay with us for decades to come.

“The prioritised, safe and coordinated removal of asbestos from buildings must be a priority for this Government.

“We reiterate our calls for a worldwide ban on this toxic material. The Australian data highlights that despite banning asbestos in all forms we continue to see rising cases of mesothelioma and asbestos-related disease.

“Knowing what we know about mesothelioma, it is the disease not one more person should experience.”

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