- 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.
New cases of mesothelioma, 2011, UK
Deaths from mesothelioma, 2012, UK
Preventable cases of mesothelioma, UK
- 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.
- 94% (97% in males and 83% in females) of mesothelioma cases each year in the UK are linked to major lifestyle and other risk factors.
- A person’s risk of developing mesothelioma depends on many factors, including age, genetics, and exposure to risk factors (including some potentially avoidable lifestyle factors).
- Asbestos is the main potentially avoidable risk factor for mesothelioma, linked to an estimated 94% of mesothelioma cases in the UK.
- Other factors may relate to mesothelioma risk but have generally not been studied extensively or with sufficient adjustment for possible past asbestos exposure.
The latest statistics available for mesothelioma are; incidence 2011, and mortality 2012. Reliable survival data for the UK is currently not available.
Mortality trends data are taken from the mesothelioma register, a database maintained by the Health and Safety Executive, comprising all deaths in Great Britain that mention 'mesothelioma' anywhere on the death certificate. This is the most reliable source of information on mesothelioma mortality, because it is compiled by tracking incident mesothelioma cases and additionally checking national death data. Prior to the ICD-10 coding system, which assigns mesothelioma a specific code, mesothelioma deaths were coded according to their anatomical site and therefore often confused with lung and other cancers.
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