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Home > Mesothelioma cancer > Mesothelioma incidence and statistics

Mesothelioma incidence and statistics

Many people diagnosed with mesothelioma want to know a true statistics or incidence about mesothelioma.

It is estimated that 2,000 to 3,000 cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed each year in the United States. Men in their mid-60s are most often affected by mesothelioma because of their occupational exposure to asbestos, but women are also diagnosed with this disease.

The 5-year survival rate refers to the percent of patients who live at least 5 years after their cancer is diagnosed. Many of these patients live much longer than 5 years after diagnosis, and 5-year rates are used to produce a standard way of discussing prognosis. Five-year relative survival rates exclude from the calculations patients dying of other diseases, and are considered to be a more accurate way to describe the prognosis for patients with a particular type and stage of cancer. Of course, 5-year survival rates are based on patients diagnosed and initially treated more than 5 years ago.

The five-year relative survival rate (percentage of patients who survive at least five years after the cancer is detected, excluding those who die from other diseases) of patients with mesothelioma is 9%. The average survival for a person with mesothelioma is about 1-2 years.

Cancer statistics should be interpreted with caution. These estimates are based on data from thousands of cases of this type of cancer in the United States each year, but the actual risk for a particular individual may differ. It is not possible to tell a person how long he or she will live with mesothelioma. Because the survival statistics are measured in five-year (or sometimes one-year) intervals, they may not represent advances made in the treatment or diagnosis of this cancer.

The average age of a person with mesothelioma is 50 to 70 years old. It affects men three to five times more often than women and is less common in African-Americans than in Caucasian Americans.

Historically, Mesothelioma naturally appears in 1 per 1,000,000 people. Between WWII and the 1970s, asbestos was widely used in the construction and shipbuilding industries. Companies often exposed employees to dangerous levels of asbestos fibers despite information suggesting its toxic nature. As a result the occurrence of Mesothelioma in the population at large has grown to anywhere between 7 and 40 per 1,000,000 people.

While men over 65 are the most common victims of Mesothelioma, there are also many cases of women with Mesothelioma. Experts believe that many women were exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos via the clothing of their husbands who worked closely with asbestos-containing materials.

Although reported incidence rates have increased in the past 20 years, mesothelioma is still a relatively rare cancer. The incidence is approximately one per 1,000,000. For comparison, populations with high levels of smoking can have a lung cancer incidence of over 1,000 per 1,000,000. Incidence of malignant mesothelioma currently ranges from about 7 to 40 per 1,000,000 in industrialized Western nations, depending on the amount of asbestos exposure of the populations during the past several decades.

It has been estimated that incidence may have peaked at 15 per 1,000,000 in the United States in 2004. Incidence is expected to continue increasing in other parts of the world. Mesothelioma occurs more often in men than in women and risk increases with age, but this disease can appear in either men or women at any age. Approximately one fifth to one third of all mesotheliomas are peritoneal.

Between 1940 and 1979, approximately 27.5 million people were occupationally exposed to asbestos in the United States. Between 1973 and 1984, there has been a three-fold increase in the diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma in caucasian males. From 1980 to the late 1990s, the rate of deaths from mesothelioma increased from 2,000 to 3,000 a year. in the late 1990se in annual deaths from mesotheilioma. These rates may not be accurate, since it is possible that many cases of mesothelioma are misdiagnosed as adenocarcinoma of the lung, which is difficult to differentiate from mesothelioma.

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