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Mesothelioma Key Facts

Mesothelioma Stats DoughnutKey messages on incidence, mortality, risk factors (causes) and a summary table of the statistics for mesothelioma are given here.

More comprehensive information and statistics for mesothelioma is here: incidence, mortality, and risk factors.

The latest statistics available for mesothelioma are; incidence 2011 and mortality 2012. Source years are specified in the statistics table. Find out why these are the latest statistics available.

About mesothelioma

  • Mesothelioma is a cancer of the cells that cover many of our internal body organs. There are two main types - pleural mesothelioma in the chest and peritoneal mesothelioma in the abdomen.

section reviewed 22/02/12
section updated 22/02/12

How common is mesothelioma?

  • Mesothelioma accounts for less than 1% of all cancers diagnosed in the UK.
  • In the UK in 2011, around 2,600 people were diagnosed with mesothelioma, that's around 7 every day.
  • Mesothelioma is around five times more common in men than in women. In 2011 there were around 2,200 cases in men and around 400 in women.
  • 46% of mesothelioma cases occur in people aged 75 and over, and 8% occur in those aged under 60.
  • Mesothelioma incidence rates in Great Britain have increased almost five-fold since the late 1970s, though they have remained stable over the last decade in the UK.

Read more in-depth mesothelioma incidence statistics.

section reviewed 23/04/14
section updated 23/04/14

How many people die from mesothelioma?

  • Around 2,400 people died from mesothelioma in the UK in 2012.
  • More than 8 in 10 mesothelioma deaths in the UK occur in men.
  • Around half of mesothelioma deaths in the UK are in people aged 75 and over.
  • Mesothelioma death rates in Great Britain have increased more than eleven-fold in men and around eight-fold in women since the early 1970s.
  • The number of mesothelioma deaths in Great Britain is expected to peak in 2017-2018 and decline rapidly thereafter. This is due to the changing patterns of exposure to asbestos, the main cause of mesothelioma.

Read more in-depth mesothelioma mortality statistics.

section reviewed 08/09/14
section updated 08/09/14

What are the main causes of mesothelioma?

  • Most cases of mesothelioma are caused by past occupational exposure to asbestos.
  • Asbestos is an insulating material that was widely used in many industries in the UK from the 1950s up until the mid-1980s, including construction and shipbuilding and where asbestos lagging was fitted or asbestos board was sawn.
  • The use of blue and brown asbestos was banned in the UK in 1985. A complete ban on the use of asbestos products was introduced when white asbestos was banned in the UK in 1999. But workers in some occupations may still come in to contact with asbestos-containing materials installed before these dates and regulations apply.
  • Mesothelioma symptoms generally appear 20-30 years after exposure to asbestos.

Read more in-depth mesothelioma risk factors

section reviewed 02/01/14
section updated 02/01/14

Mesothelioma statistics table

MESOTHELIOMA STATISTICS Males Females Persons        Country            Year2    
Number of new cases per year 2,172 398 2,570 UK 2011
Incidence rate per 100,000 population1 5.2 0.8 2.8
Number of deaths per year 2,033 396 2,429 UK 2012
Mortality rate per 100,000 population1 4.6 0.8 2.5

1. European age-standardised    2. Latest statistics available

More detailed mesothelioma statistics can be found using this link: incidence, mortality, risk factors.

section reviewed 08/09/14
section updated 08/09/14

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Updated: 8 September 2014