In the 1970s, the United States government began to make tighter restrictions on asbestos. Then, in the early 2000s, pleural mesothelioma rates peaked. After that, it was projected that the rates would continually decline.
Numbers from the National Cancer Database (NCDB) prove mesothelioma rates didn’t not decline as projected. As we will explore later in this article, mesothelioma survival rates are improving. Yet the number of cases are, sadly, increasing. Many types of illnesses are caused by asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma and lung cancer are the main ones. With lung cancer, it is not simple to pinpoint the cause of a specific case. That is contrary to mesothelioma. It’s primary cause is asbestos. Of the varying types of mesothelioma, and all diseases caused by asbestos, malignant mesothelioma is the most dangerous. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of mesothelioma. The tumors of pleural mesothelioma, a deadly cancer of the lungs, start on the membrane around the lungs. Even as early as the 1930s, doctors began to see a mysterious lung disease in the lungs of asbestos workers. A few decades later, in the 1970s, asbestos became one of the first air pollutants which was regulated under the Clean Air Act. Because of the rising pleural mesothelioma rates, many countries have fully banned asbestos. America, though, has not, making it one of the only world powers without an asbestos ban. Government officials have hoped that simply tightly restricting it would be enough. A new analysis of pleural mesothelioma includes almost 21,000 participants, all who had the cancer, from the National Cancer Database. These patients were all diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma in between 2004 and 2014. During this ten year time period, the rates of pleural mesothelioma in America did not lower. In fact, they went from 1,783 to 1,961 cases per year. Now, pleural mesothelioma accounts for one third of one percent (0.03%) of all cancer cases yearly. Cases of pleural mesothelioma have always been more common in men, and this is still true. Women only account for about one fifth of all pleural mesothelioma patients. But now, more elderly people have the disease than ever before. In this report, there were very few bright spots. Mesothelioma survival of one year is up 10 percent higher. This is especially noteworthy because more patients are older. Now, more mesothelioma patients are getting help. In 2004, the beginning of the time this study looks into, only 34 percent of mesothelioma patients were getting help. By 2014, that number was up to 54 percent. What are the factors that are affecting the survival rates? Some patients, this study found, have better odds of survival than others. These include younger patients, women, and those with the epithelioid subtype. The pleural mesothelioma rates were found to be higher in those treated at academic medical centers. Those who had a better health insurance or higher incomes also generally lived longer. Lastly, multiple therapy types improved the survival of mesothelioma. The report finishes off with this conclusion: “Multimodal therapy and treatment at academic centers are modifiable risk factors associated with improved survival.” Mesothelioma is extremely dangerous, yet preventable. As it is caused by asbestos exposure, the best way to prevent it is simply by avoiding asbestos. Many homes (and buildings in general) contain asbestos. If you think or are sure that your home or building contains the dangerous toxin, call us today at (313) 437-4530 for a free quote for asbestos removal and testing.