Mesothelioma patients and family members should know the statistics regarding their disease as well as its causes and the treatment offered.

Mesothelioma Facts and Statistics

  • Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. Although there is no cure, the survival rates for mesothelioma patients is constantly improving as research moves forward. The best way to improve your survival rate is by seeing a mesothelioma specialist. Find a mesothelioma specialist for your specific diagnosis by using our free Doctor Match program.
  • Approximately 2,000-3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year in the United States.
  • Mesothelioma is more common in men (80%) than it is in women (20%).
  • For every 12 pleural mesothelioma cases there is 1 peritoneal mesothelioma diagnosis.
  • Mesothelioma symptoms may not appear for 20-50 years after the initial asbestos exposure.
  • It is one of the rarest forms of cancer, afflicting approximately one person in every 166,000.
  • 9 out of every 10 diagnoses affects someone over the age of 60.
  • Mesothelioma diagnoses have increased four times over since the 1980′s.
  • Due to the changes in asbestos exposure, the number of mesothelioma cases is expected to peak in 2016 and then sharply decline.

Asbestos Facts and Statistics

  • Asbestos is the only proven cause of mesothelioma. Asbestos is a fibrous mineral used in various products because of its resistance to heat, fire and chemicals. Most people exposed to asbestos are in an occupational setting during the exposure.
  • 125+ million people have been exposed to asbestos in the workplace.
  • Asbestos is the cause of one in every three deaths from occupational cancer (cancers caused by working with certain materials)
  • Asbestos was common in over 300 products in the U.S. military. It was extensively used on military vessels like battleships. If you were exposed to asbestos in the military, our free Veteran’s Support Guide provides detailed information on finding financial support and treatment specifically for veterans.
  • Asbestos is banned in 55 countries, but the United States is not one of them. In 2012, the U.S. imported over 1,606 tons of asbestos materials
  • There are 2 different kinds of asbestos fibers: serpentine and amphibole. Amphibole fibers have been known to be more dangerous due to their shape which allows them to “lodge” into the mesothelial tissue.
  • Asbestos fibers are found in insulation, roofing shingles, and many automobile products, such as brake pads.
  • Asbestos was also used in making toasters and hair dryers.
  • 30 million pounds of asbestos is still used in the United States every year.
  • Since 1979, approximately 45,000 Americans have died from asbestos related diseases, including asbestosis and mesothelioma.
  • “Asbestos” means inextinguishable in Greek.

Treatment Facts and Statistics

  • There is currently no cure for mesothelioma, however, there are many different treatment options available depending on the patients’ diagnosis. There are curative surgical options for earlier diagnoses. If the patient’s diagnosis is in the later stages, treatment is used to provide comfort to the patient.
  • Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC or “Hot Chemo”) is sometimes used in peritoneal mesothelioma patients. Developed by Dr. Paul Sugarbaker, Heated Chemo is applied directly to the abdominal region during cytoreductive surgery in order to any kill remaining cancer cells.
  • The extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) was developed by Dr. David Sugarbaker, as a potentially curative option for pleural mesothelioma patients. During EPP, the surgeon removes the entire lung, part of the pericardium, and part of the diaphragm. It’s one of the most successful surgical options for mesothelioma patients.
  • There are many mesothelioma clinical trials being conducted right now. They are testing new and innovative ways to treat the cancer and hopefully find a cure.
  • Unfortunately, only 5% of all cancer patients have taken part in these clinical trials.
  • Palliative (pain-relief) treatments options may include a thoracentesis, pleurodesis, or a shunt placement which relieves pressure.