Unsurprisingly, mesothelioma patients are overwhelmingly old and male. In fact, the average age when diagnosed is increasing.
What might be a little surprising? The rates of female patients are skyrocketing.
A report from Clinical Lung Cancer details the increase in survival, female cases and average age through the past three decades. The study looks at these three categories in the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s, comparing each time period.
The rates of female patients nearly doubled from the 1990s to 2010s. The average age also increased around 10 years.
Full Statistics From the Mesothelioma Study
From 1991-1999, only 11.6% of mesothelioma cases involved women. This was in line with mesothelioma’s representation: Men were most likely to get the cancer because men were more likely to work asbestos jobs. Asbestos causes mesothelioma 20-50 years after exposure.
In the most recent decade, cases increased to 20.5%. It’s still a small minority, but it’s rising drastically.
The best explanation is asbestos and talc. Women are more likely to use talcum products (cosmetics such as eyeliner and blush, or baby powder), and there’s a definitive link between talc and asbestos. The two minerals cohabitate similar geographic areas, and many talc mines include stray asbestos. This leads to contaminated talcum powder products.
It’s possible the rates of women with mesothelioma will continue rising. Women already make up around 40% of peritoneal mesothelioma cases.
Age and Survival Also Rising
In the 1990s, the average age of mesothelioma patients was 65.8. The number increased to 75 in the 2010s.
Most importantly, mesothelioma survival is trending up. The average survival in the 1990s was 9 months. It improved to 9.3 months in the 2000s and now it’s 10.1 months. Some studies report it at 12-14 months, depending on treatment.
The study in Clinical Lung Cancer credits the survival improvement to increased use of chemotherapy and surgery. As immunotherapy for mesothelioma becomes more accepted at cancer centers, the survival will continue its encouraging trend.
Sources & Author
- Three Decades of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma: An Academic Center Experience. Clinical Lung Cancer. Retrieved from: https://www.clinical-lung-cancer.com/article/S1525-7304(21)00065-6/fulltext. Accessed: 04/28/2021.
Sources & Author