As with any disease or health condition, mesothelioma researchers have, over time, collected statistical information about mesothelioma. These statistics can help us learn about the proclivities of the disease and its incidence and potentially help future patients as we learn more about mesothelioma.
How Common is Mesothelioma?
New cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed in between 2,500 and 3,000 Americans each year. These numbers, while significant, would indicate that mesothelioma is still a relatively rare disease, though incidence is expected to rise in the next decade according to projections.
What is the Typical Age at Diagnosis?
The first diagnosis of mesothelioma typically occurs in men and women between the ages of 50 and 70 years. Mesothelioma patients, certainly, have been diagnosed at ages younger than 50 and older than 70, but diagnoses for those age groups are considered statistical anomalies.
Does Mesothelioma Occur in a Particular Sex or Racial Demographic More than Another?
Mesothelioma is much more common in men than women, due mostly to occupational asbestos exposure being more common among men of industrial labor sites. That is not to say, however, that women cannot be diagnosed with mesothelioma. In fact, recent evidence suggests that mesothelioma incidence in women may rise in the coming years as secondary exposures to asbestos can manifest in the form of a positive mesothelioma diagnosis. Also of note is that mesothelioma is much less common among African Americans than in Caucasians, the reasons for which researchers are still investigating.
What are Typical Patient Survival Rates Following a Mesothelioma Diagnosis?
As mesothelioma is often diagnosed in its advanced stages, the prognosis from mesothelioma is often in the range of a year after diagnosis. If diagnosed early enough, however, survival may potentially extend over many years. Patient survival rates are often contingent on the treatments available to the particular patient.
Other Mesothelioma Information
Typically, there is a great deal of time between an individual's exposure to asbestos and the development of asbestos-related health complications. Mesothelioma is associated with a long-latency period (often 20-50 years) after exposure. Over a long period of time, lodged asbestos fibers slowly inflame the lung's external tissue, often serving as a pre-cursor to the development of malignant mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is most common in adults. Adults who have asbestos exposure history are typically those most at risk for the development of malignant mesothelioma. It can take many years for those exposed to asbestos exposure to exhibit the effects of exposure and, as such, mesothelioma is most often diagnosed in older individuals, often up to 40 years following exposure.
Childhood diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma is extremely rare, although it has been documented. Mesothelioma is known only to be caused by exposure to asbestos and takes many years following exposure to asbestos to manifest in adults. Generally speaking, childhood mesothelioma is considered to be unrelated to asbestos exposure.
Many women that have been diagnosed with mesothelioma had no direct exposure to asbestos from working in industrial job settings. Instead they discover that they are victims of second-hand asbestos exposure that occurred while washing their husband's clothes that came home from work with asbestos fibers on them.
Mesothelioma is known only to be caused by exposure to asbestos, a naturally occurring fibrous mineral that was used for many years as an industrial insulation component. As such, the best mesothelioma prevention is the avoidance of exposure to asbestos. However, in recent years, physicians and cancer specialists have been developing a mesothelioma vaccine that will arm the body's immune system with cancer fighting anti-bodies and antigens in those who are at risk for the development of mesothelioma.
Recent studies by researchers in the Netherlands have found promising results in preventative therapies for mesothelioma. Using cancer-fighting antigens within the body's immune system, mesothelioma patients have responded positively in most cases when treated with the mesothelioma vaccine. The hope is now that this therapy can be applied to those who may be at risk of developing mesothelioma in the future, particularly those who have been exposed to asbestos but have yet to develop asbestos disease.
Historical timeline containing important facts and developments related to the manufacture and use of asbestos and documented cases of mesothelioma cancer and other asbestos related diseases.
The word “mesothelioma” is often misspelled by people searching on the internet for information about this asbestos cancer. In this section we list some of the most common misspellings that we have seen individuals use in their internet searches for mesothelioma.
There are several common myths and misconceptions about mesothelioma. Learn more about what the true facts are about this asbestos-related disease.
Mesothelioma cancer is a rare disease that attacks the cells of the tissue that lines the body cavity called the mesothelium. It’s only known cause is exposure to asbestos fibers.
Where can I find more information?
We urge those seeking more mesothelioma information to complete the brief form on this page. The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance will rush you a comprehensive mesothelioma and asbestos exposure information packet. In our packet you’ll find information about cutting-edge treatments, leading mesothelioma cancer center programs, and legal options you may have if you were exposed to asbestos. Act now and find out more today!
National Cancer Institute - Mesothelioma: Questions and Answers