Mesothelioma statistics


New cases of mesothelioma, 2013, UK


Deaths from mesothelioma, 2014, UK


Preventable cases of mesothelioma, UK

  • There were around 2,700 new cases of mesothelioma in the UK in 2013, that’s more than 7 cases diagnosed every day.
  • Mesothelioma accounts for less than 1% of all new cases in the UK (2013).
  • In males in the UK, mesothelioma is the 17th most common cancer, with around 2,200 cases diagnosed in 2013.
  • In females, there were around 450 cases of mesothelioma diagnosed in the UK in 2013.
  • Almost half (48%) of mesothelioma cases in the UK each year are diagnosed in people aged 75 and over (2011-2013).
  • Since the late 1970s, mesothelioma incidence rates have increased almost six-fold (497% increase) in Great Britain. The increase is slightly larger in males where rates have increased almost six-fold (498% increase), than in females where rates have increased more than five-fold (433% increase).
  • Over the last decade, mesothelioma incidence rates have increased by around a tenth (11%) in the UK, with a larger increase in females (more than a fifth, 22%) than males (almost a tenth, 8%).
  • Most mesotheliomas occur in the pleura.
  • Incidence rates for mesothelioma are projected to fall by 53% in the UK between 2014 and 2035, to fewer than 5 cases per 100,000 people by 2035.
  • 1 in 140 men and 1 in 710 women will be diagnosed with mesothelioma during their lifetime.
  • Mesothelioma in England is not associated with deprivation.
  • In the UK around 2,100 people were still alive at the end of 2006, up to ten years after being diagnosed with mesothelioma.
  • Worldwide, around 14,200 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed each year, with incidence rates varying across the world.

See more in-depth mesothelioma incidence statistics

  • There were around 2,600 mesothelioma deaths in the UK in 2014, that’s around 7 deaths every day.
  • Mesothelioma is the 16th most common cause of cancer death in the UK (2014).
  • Mesothelioma accounts for 2% of all cancer deaths in the UK (2014).
  • In males in the UK, mesothelioma is the 13th most common cause of cancer death, with around 2,100 deaths in 2014.
  • In females in the UK, mesothelioma is the 20th most common cause of cancer death, with around 420 deaths in 2014.
  • More than half (52%) of mesothelioma deaths in the UK each year are in people aged 75 and over (2012-2014).
  • Mortality rates for mesothelioma in the UK are highest in people aged 80-89 (2012-2014).
  • Since the early 1970’s mesothelioma mortality rates have increased by more than nine-fold in Great Britain. The increase is larger in males (902%), than in females (692%).
  • Over the last decade, mesothelioma mortality rates have increased by more than a tenth (14%) in the UK, with a smaller increase in males (10%) than in females (29%).
  • 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.
  • Mortality rates for mesothelioma are projected to fall by 46% in the UK between 2014 and 2035, to fewer than 5 deaths per 100,000 people by 2035.
  • Mesothelioma in England is not associated with deprivation.

See more in-depth mesothelioma mortality statistics

  • Mesothelioma survival in England is highest for people diagnosed aged under 50 years old (2009-2013).
  • Almost 3 in 20 men and almost a third of women in England diagnosed with mesothelioma aged 15-49 survive their disease for five years or more, compared with around 5 in 100 people diagnosed aged 80 and over (2009-2013).

See more in-depth mesothelioma survival statistics

  • A person’s risk of developing cancer depends on many factors, including age, genetics, and exposure to risk factors (including some potentially avoidable lifestyle factors).
  • 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.
  • 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.

See more in-depth mesothelioma risk factors

  • 'Emergency presentation' is the most common route to diagnosing mesothelioma.
  • ‘Two-week wait’ standards are met by all countries, ‘31-day wait’ is met by all but Northern Ireland, and ‘62-day wait’ is not met by any country for lung cancer.
  • Around 9 in 10 patients had a ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ patient experience.
  • More than 9 in 10 patients are given the name of their Clinical Nurse Specialist.

See more in-depth mesothelioma diagnosis and treatment statistics

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The latest statistics available for mesothelioma are; incidence 2013, mortality 2014 and survival 2009-2013 (by age).

The ICD code Open a glossary item for mesothelioma is ICD-10 C45.

European Age-Standardised Rates were calculated using the 1976 European Standard Population (ESP) unless otherwise stated as calculated with ESP2013. ASRs calculated with ESP2013 are not comparable with ASRs calculated with ESP1976.

Lifetime risk estimates were calculated using incidence, mortality, population and all-cause mortality data for 2012 for males and 2010-2012 for females due to the small number of cases.

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.

Survival statistics give an overall picture of survival and (unless otherwise stated) include all adults (15-99) diagnosed, at all ages, stages Open a glossary item and co-morbidities Open a glossary item. The survival time experienced by an individual patient may be much higher or lower, depending on specific patient and tumour characteristics. If you are a patient, please see our patient information.

Meta-analyses Open a glossary item and systematic reviews Open a glossary item are cited where available, as they provide the best overview of all available research and most take study quality into account. Individual case-control  and cohort studies Open a glossary item are reported where such aggregated data are lacking.

Routes to diagnosis statistics were calculated from cases of cancer registered in England which were diagnosed in 2012-2013.

Cancer waiting times statistics are for patients who entered the health care system within financial year 2014-15. Mesothelioma is part of the group 'Lung cancer' for cancer waiting times data. Codes vary per country but broadly include: trachea, bronchus and lung, thymus, heart, mediastinum and pleura, other and ill-defined sites of the respiratory system, mesothelioma, secondary cancers of the mediastinum, pleura or other and unspecified respiratory organs. 

Patient Experience data is for adult patients in England with a primary diagnosis of cancer, who were in active treatment between September and November 2013 and who completed a survey in 2014.

Deprivation gradient statistics were calculated using incidence data for three time periods: 1996-2000, 2001-2005 and 2006-2010 and for mortality for two time periods: 2002-2006 and 2007-2011. The 1997-2001 mortality data were only used for the all cancers combined group as this time period includes the change in coding from ICD-9 to ICD-10. The deprivation quintiles were calculated using the Income domain scores from the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) from the following years: 2004, 2007 and 2010. Full details on the data and methodology can be found in the Cancer by Deprivation in England NCIN report.


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We would like to acknowledge the essential work of the cancer registries in the United Kingdom and Ireland Association of Cancer Registries, without which there would be no data.

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