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Summary

Mesothelioma is a formerly rare form of cancer which affects the pleura (the lining of the lungs) and the peritoneum (the lining surrounding the lower digestive tract). In the majority of cases mesothelioma is rapidly fatal following diagnosis so mesothelioma death statistics give a clear indication of the disease incidence. Mesothelioma is closely related to asbestos and many cases, particularly among men, are a result of exposures in occupational settings. However, mesothelioma has been reported in some individuals without any known exposure to asbestos. The long delay between initial exposure to asbestos and death from mesothelioma is typically between 30 and 40 years. This means that deaths occurring now and most of those expected to occur in the future reflect industrial conditions of the past rather than current work practices.

  • The total number of mesothelioma deaths has increased from 153 in 1968 to 2156 in 2007.
  • The most frequently recorded occupations on death certificates of men now dying from mesothelioma include carpenters and joiners; plumbers, heating and ventilating engineers; and electricians and electrical fitters.
  • The expected number of deaths amongst males is predicted to increase to a peak of 2038 (90% prediction interval: 1929 to 2156) around the year 2016.

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