A new study looked at the worldwide rates of mesothelioma over the past decade. The international team of researchers hailed from China, Sweden, Australia, the Philippines, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
The researchers used information from three different databases to learn about the number of cases and what might cause the disease. The Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer Incidence in Five Continents Plus, and Global Burden of Disease provided data for this study.
Banning Asbestos Worldwide
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that develops from cells of the mesothelium, the lining that covers many of the internal organs of the body. Sites of mesothelioma are typically the outer lining of the lungs and chest wall and the abdomen.
Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a naturally occurring material found throughout the world. It is almost impossible to set on fire. It is also nearly impossible to corrode. Asbestos can be woven into other materials and is cheap to buy.
About 60 countries have banned asbestos because of its toxic nature, but some developing countries still use this substance in manufacturing. The current global use of asbestos is over a million tons each year.
Number of Cases Going Down
The goal of this study, published in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, was to look at the global disease burden of mesothelioma. The researchers also wanted to look for trends in mesothelioma rates by age, sex, and geographical location.
They found that Northern Europe has the highest number of cases and that more men get mesothelioma than women.
Countries with a high standard of living, more money, and more exposure to asbestos had more cases of mesothelioma.
The number of cases has been going down in recent years, but it has gone up in Bulgaria and Korea. The researchers think that this is happening because of exposure to asbestos and other minerals.
This type of information can help guide decisions around reducing the use of asbestos and directing medical resources towards areas with high rates of mesothelioma.
Huang J, Chan SC, Pang WS, et al. Global Incidence, Risk Factors, and Temporal Trends of Mesothelioma: a population-based study [published online ahead of print, 2023 Feb 10]. J Thorac Oncol. 2023;S1556-0864(23)00125-9. doi:10.1016/j.jtho.2023.01.095. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36775192/