Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lung and abdominal linings that is caused by asbestos exposure. It is estimated that approximately 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma per year in the United States. (Cancer.org)
According to the CDC, the mesothelioma death rate in the US from 1999 to 2015 was 8 deaths per one million people. (CDC.gov). During that period, a total of 45,221 deaths from asbestos cancer were reported.
For comparison’s sake, the country with the highest death rate from 1994 to 2008 was the United Kingdom, with 17.8 deaths per one million residents. (Asbestos.com).
Understanding Mesothelioma Death Rate Statistics
When talking about mesothelioma, you may hear the death rate and mortality rate mentioned, but these are both the same thing. They both mean the number of deaths in a specific group of people generally, or from a specific cause.
As noted earlier, mesothelioma is diagnosed in 3,000 Americans per year, making it rare cancer, representing 0.02% of all cancer cases in the country. The death rate is not much different than the mesothelioma incidence rate; unfortunately, most patients with cancer live only a year or less.
Approximately 2-10% of people with prolonged exposure to asbestos develop the disease.
Another important statistic about this cancer to understand is the mesothelioma survival rate. This refers to the percentage of people who live one to five years after they are diagnosed. About 40% of asbestos cancer patients live at least a year.
CDC Database and Mesothelioma Statistics
The most up-to-date information on asbestos-related mortality comes from an online database called CDC WONDER. This database specifies how many people who passed away from mesothelioma from 1999 to 2017.
Age-Adjusted Mortality Rates
One important thing to understand about mesothelioma mortality is the latency period, which is the time from the first asbestos exposure until the cancer is diagnosed. The latency period for mesothelioma can be from 10 to 50 years. So, the death rates for mesothelioma generally only include people who are 25 or older.
For men, the death rate per one million Americans in 2010 was 25, while for women, it was 4.5. For both genders, the death rate was 12.3. The death rate for men was much higher because most of the people who are exposed to asbestos work in male-dominated fields, such as power, construction, manufacturing, and heavy industry.
Mesothelioma Death Rate by Age and Race
Mesothelioma death rates vary widely by age. When the death rates are sorted by 10-year groups, the crude death rate is the worst for those from ages 75-84 at 72 deaths per million. The rate of death for people from 25 to 34 and 35 and 44 were lower than one death per million.
- The death rate from asbestos cancer is higher with men. From 1999-2015, the death rate (age-adjusted) for men was 25 deaths per million, compared to 4.6 deaths per million for women.
- The rate for men dropped from 25.5 deaths per million in 1999 to 23 in 2010. For women, the death rate varied between 1999 and 2010, but stayed around 4.5 deaths per million, roughly.
- The death rate for whites is twice that of any other race. From 1999 to 2015, the death rate (age-adjusted) was 14 deaths per million. The next highest death rate was seen in Native Americans and Alaska Natives at 5.95 per million. Next were African Americans at 5.8 deaths per million, and then Asians at 3.5 deaths per million.
More Mesothelioma Death Statistics of Note
- The CDC reports that most people who died from asbestos cancer from 1999 to 2010 were between 75 and 84 – a total of 11,170 deaths. Next were those between 65 and 74 – 8,637 deaths. There were 90 mesothelioma deaths for people between 25 and 34.
- Men receive a mesothelioma diagnosis far more often than women. From 1999 to 2010, a total of 23,784 men accounted for 80% of the mesothelioma deaths in the United States.
- Whites comprised 95% of mesothelioma deaths in the 11-year period, with 28,639 deaths. African Americans comprised 4% of deaths with 1,149. For 2003 to 2008, 93.6% of cases were in whites and 4.6% were in African Americans. (gov).
- Mesothelioma cases among men were at the highest between 2008 and 2010 with 2,000 cases per year. The CDC is predicting the number of mesothelioma cases should continue to decline for the next several decades. The number of mesothelioma cases among women is predicted to rise slightly.
Death Statistics Rate Per Year by Mesothelioma Type
Another factor in the death rate from mesothelioma is the type of cancer. More people die from pleural mesothelioma because it is the most common type, so it has a higher death rate per one million people:
- Pleural mesothelioma: 3,351 deaths; 0.98 deaths per million
- Peritoneal mesothelioma: 1,854 deaths; 0.51 deaths per million
- Pericardial mesothelioma: 74; 0.01 deaths per million
- Other types of mesothelioma: 5,280; 1.52 deaths per million
- Unspecified mesothelioma: 35,068; 10.14 deaths per million
In addition to the type of cancer, the stage when the patient is diagnosed affects how long the person will live. This factor will affect the death rate, but the CDC does not keep track of this information.
CDC data shows that the annual number of asbestos cancer deaths is rising, especially among people 85 and older, probably because they were exposed to asbestos 40 or 50 years ago. But mesothelioma deaths are decreasing in people from 35-64.
Whites comprise approximately 95% of mesothelioma cases, while African-Americans comprise approximately 4%.
The male death rate from mesothelioma will always be higher than women because more men worked in the at-risk occupations. Also, the highest death rates are among men who worked in the shipbuilding and construction industries.
Get Mesothelioma Legal Help
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