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Mesothelioma Statistics

A mesothelioma diagnosis can burden the patient and family members with an unexpected financial and emotional burden. Were you recently diagnosed with mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure, or did you lose a loved one from the condition?

This web page will address mesothelioma statistics so you have some context for this issue. Contact our mesothelioma lawyers today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) to schedule a free consultation to discuss your compensation claim.

Mesothelioma accounts for less than 0.3% of all cancer diagnoses in the United States. Nearly 3000 individuals are diagnosed with rare cancer yearly, primarily men sixty-five years of age and older.

Malignant pleural mesothelioma is the most common form, making up more than 75% of all cases.

What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer affecting internal organs. Approximately four-fifths of all mesothelioma cases affect the lining of the lungs (pleural mesothelioma), which is often misdiagnosed as lung cancer.

Mesothelioma can also affect the tissue around the abdominal area (peritoneal mesothelioma). Approximately 8% of mesothelioma cases involve the peritoneum.

Pericardium mesothelioma typically involves cancerous tumors around the heart’s lining (pericardium). Testicular mesothelioma affects the lining around the testicles (tunica vaginalis).

Diagnosing mesothelioma can be challenging because most symptoms do not appear until decades after the patient was first exposed to asbestos fibers and dust. Treating mesothelioma is limited to chemo, radiation therapy, and some surgical procedures, including tumor removal.

Asbestos Statistics and Risk Factors

  • Asbestos is a naturally forming heat-resistant fibrous silicate mineral.
  • There is no safe level of asbestos fiber or dust exposure.
  • Asbestos has been used in thousands of products for nearly a century in the United States, including brake pads, insulation, and fire-retardant materials.
  • People have been exposed to asbestos during the mining and refining processes, increasing the incidence rates for developing mesothelioma.
  • Prolonged asbestos exposure [1] could lead to asbestos disease and mesothelioma.
  • In 1973, the United States imported more than 800,000 tons of raw asbestos.
  • By 2016, the US imported less than 350 pounds of raw asbestos.
  • The EPA closed the last US asbestos mine in 2002.
  • In 2015, over 25 million pounds of asbestos fibers were disposed of in regulated landfills.

Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma Statistics and Facts: Exposure to Asbestos

  • Exposure to asbestos fiber and dust causes mesothelioma.
  • Not everyone exposed to hazardous asbestos fiber and dust is at risk of developing mesothelioma.
  • Short-term exposure or single incident exposure to asbestos in high concentration is dangerous and could cause mesothelioma development.
  • Mesothelioma is not a predisposed (genetic) condition.
  • BAP1 gene mutation could increase the potential risk of developing mesothelioma.
  • Many peritoneal mesothelioma patients were exposed to asbestos secondhand by family members who unknowingly brought fiber and dust into the house.
  • The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is considering banning all asbestos products.
  • Cases involving mesothelioma in the United States account for less than 0.3% of all cancer diagnoses.
  • Doctors categorize mesothelioma into four types: pleural, pericardial, peritoneal, and testicular.
  • Common organs affected by asbestos exposure include the lungs, abdomen, heart, and testicles.
  • Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type, accounting for three-fourths of all mesothelioma cases.
  • Advanced mesothelioma symptoms typically include fatigue, difficulty swallowing, abdominal pain, chest pain, night sweats, fevers, chest tightness, fluid buildup, unexplained weight loss, and not feeling well.
  • Nearly 2,500 individuals die of mesothelioma every year in America.
  • Between 1999 and 2017, 47,000 individuals died from mesothelioma in the US.
  • Approximately 2% to 10% of all individuals with prolonged, heavy exposure to asbestos fiber and dust develop malignant pleural mesothelioma.
  • Mesothelioma in symptoms might not appear until 2 to 5 decades after asbestos use and exposure when tumors begin growing and spreading.
  • Individuals diagnosed with mesothelioma have an average life expectancy of 12 to 22 months.
  • Typical asbestos disease patients are men 65 years and older who have worked in the military or blue-collar jobs.
  • Mortality data reveals the average age of females diagnosed with the disease is 71 years.
  • The average age of males diagnosed with mesothelioma is 75 years.
  • Occupations most at risk of developing mesothelioma due to asbestos use include construction, shipbuilding, firefighting, military service, manufacturing, power generation, and chemical refining.
  • Over 93% of all diagnoses of asbestos-related diseases involve white men and women (93.2%), according to the World Health Organization.
  • Approximately 5.5% of all mesothelioma cases affect Hispanics, 4.7% Blacks, and 1.2% Asian/Pacific Islanders.
  • People older than 60 are ten times more likely to develop mesothelioma than those with an average age of 40.
  • The long latency period for pleural mesothelioma is between 3 and 6 decades.
  • The latency period for the peritoneal form of mesothelioma is between 2 and 4 decades.
  • The latency period for female peritoneal mesothelioma patients is longer (5+ decades) than for male patients (4+ decades).
  • Less than 1% of all diagnosed cancer cases [2] of mesothelioma involve testicular cancer.
  • Social Security benefits (compassionate allowances) are typically available for malignant mesothelioma cancer patients, including those with mesothelioma.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mortality data, mesothelioma has no cure, and the condition is almost always fatal.

Diagnosing Mesothelioma

Early cancer detection provides more treatment options, a higher chance of mesothelioma survival, and less potential for spreading. Medical science has yet to develop conclusive screening tests for mesothelioma to identify early-stage cancer in people without symptoms.

Mesothelioma diagnostic tests might include:

  • A comprehensive physical examination
  • A complete medical history
  • Blood tests
  • Needle and endoscopic biopsies
  • Open surgical biopsy
  • Imaging tests, including x-rays, sonograms, CT scans, echocardiograms, PET (positron emission tomography) scans, and MRIs
  • Pulmonary function test

Mesothelioma doctors may recommend routine imaging tests, including CT (computed tomography) scans and chest X-rays, for individuals with a history of asbestos exposure. The test may reveal changes and lung tissue that could indicate early-stage lung cancer or mesothelioma.

Survival Rate Statistics

  • Mesothelioma statistics maintained by the American Cancer Society reveal that more than 45,000 people died from malignant mesothelioma in the United States between 1999 and 2015. Men accounted for approximately 80% of mesothelioma deaths during that time.
  • Nearly 37% of mesothelioma deaths affected individuals 75 to 84 years of age.
  • The US Midwest, Northeast, and Northwest areas had the highest mesothelioma death rates between 1999 and 2015.
  • The 2017 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mesothelioma statistics show that Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Wyoming, Minnesota, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Massachusetts, and Maine had the highest mesothelioma death rates at more than 16 mesothelioma deaths per million.
  • Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Virginia, Louisiana, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire had the second-highest mesothelioma mortality rates at more than 13.6 mesothelioma deaths per million, according to mesothelioma statistics.
  • California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Tennessee, South Carolina, Florida, New York, and Vermont had mesothelioma and the third-highest death rates at more than 11 mesothelioma deaths per million.

Five-Year Relative Survival Rates

Five-year pleural mesothelioma relative survival rates are tracked by the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER). The incidence rates are staged in three groups, localized, regional, and distant.

Mesothelioma and asbestos-related disease diagnoses should include a seer stage that determines the patient’s 5-year survival rate, including:

  • Localized – 18% of men and women diagnosed with localized pleural mesothelioma [3] will survive five years after the diagnosis.
  • Regional – 11% of patients diagnosed with regional pleural mesothelioma will still be alive five years later.
  • Distant – 7% of men and women diagnosed with distant pleural mesothelioma will survive five years after diagnosis.
  • Overall, 9% of patients at all combined stages will still be alive five years after being diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma patients who reject all cancer treatment options have a typical mortality rate of six months after diagnosis.

Survival Rate by Cell Type

Cancerous cells can form three different malignant pleural mesothelioma tumor types that might spread faster or slower throughout the body based on the cell type.

Cell types causing mesothelioma tumors include:

  • Epithelioid – The slow-growing cancerous cells are highly responsive to treatment. Mesothelioma patients diagnosed with epithelioid cancer cells have a 12.5-month mortality rate on average.
  • Sarcomatoid – The highly aggressive sarcomatoid cells respond to treatment options poorly, decreasing the patient’s survival time to an average of 9.4 months.
  • Biphasic – Biopsies can show that the epithelioid and sarcomatoid cell growth make up a biphasic tumor. The mesothelioma patient survival rate will depend on the most dominant cell type in the tumor. On average, mesothelioma patients with biphasic tumors have an average life expectancy of 11 months from diagnosis.

Diagnosing Mesothelioma

Medical science diagnosed mesothelioma in four stages, detailing the extent of how far the disease has metastasized (cancer has spread). Doctors will recommend various treatments based on the patient’s mesothelioma stage, determining the medical outcome and mesothelioma prognosis.

According to the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, each diagnosed stage has a different median survival time, including:

  • Stage I – 22.2 months
  • Stage II – 20.0 months
  • Stage III – 17.9 months
  • Stage IV – 14.9 months

Common Mesothelioma Symptoms

Most symptoms associated with mesothelioma are hard to identify or detect, making it challenging to accurately diagnose cancer in its early stage. The patient might have mild or nonexistent symptoms while the disease progresses.

Common symptoms associated with parole mesothelioma include:

  • Abdominal tenderness and swelling
  • Anemia
  • Chest Pains
  • Chills
  • Vomiting
  • Coughing up blood
  • Persistent cough
  • Tiredness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss [4]
  • Overall pain
  • Night sweats
  • Abdominal skin lumps under the skin
  • Chest lumps under the skin
  • Wheezing
  • Reduce lung expansion
  • Buildup of fluid
  • Fever

Peritoneal mesothelioma symptoms typically share many of the same symptoms as pleural mesothelioma, with additional symptoms including:

  • Abdominal distension
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Sensation of fullness
  • Hernia [5]

Pericardial mesothelioma shares most of the symptoms of pleural mesothelioma, including:

  • Heart failure
  • Heart palpitations
  • Pressure on the heart
  • Heart murmurs
  • Irregular heartbeat

Mesothelioma Statistics: The Costs of Managing the Disease and Patient

Mesothelioma statistics maintained by the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society estimate that treating pleural mesothelioma patients has skyrocketed in the last few decades. The cost statistics include:

  • $60,000 lung cancer treatment costs – Pleural mesothelioma patients require more than $60,000 for care and treatment during the first year.
  • $30 billion compensation funds – Asbestos bankruptcy trusts [6] have already paid out two-thirds ($20 billion) of the $30 billion trust funds to mesothelioma claimants over the last thirty-five years.
  • Based on the life expectancy of most patients, the medical costs for treatment, care, and comfort could reach $500,000 or higher. This cost does not include lost wages and future lost earning capacity.

Mesothelioma Statistics: Treating the Disease

Various mesothelioma treatments are available for cancer patients, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. Their doctor might recommend enrolling in a clinical trial where scientists offer experimental treatments that have yet to be approved by the FDA.

Mesothelioma statistics on treatments and care include:

  • Over 80% of all patients undergo chemotherapy treatments.
  • A 2016 National Cancer Institute study revealed chemotherapy treatments tripled the patients’ survival rates after a peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma diagnosis.
  • Approximately 50% of all peritoneal mesothelioma patients undergoing a HIPEC (Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy) [7] surgical procedure live past their 5-year survival rate.
  • Approximately 20% of patients undergo aggressive tumor-removing (cytoreductive) surgery.
  • Tested mesothelioma and immunotherapy medications using clinical trials include Pembrolizumab (Keytruda), Nivolumab (Opdivo), CRS-207, Ipilimumab (Yervoy), and WT1 Vaccine.
  • Today, medical science conducts over 300 global mesothelioma cancer clinical trials to identify the best treatment.
  • Most mesothelioma trials have been conducted in the United States (198), followed by Canada (40), Italy (38), Canada (27), and France (27).

Mesothelioma Statistics: Surgical Options

According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology [8], surgical procedures to treat mesothelioma improve the patient’s prognosis. Typically, candidates for mesothelioma surgeries include those diagnosed with the condition before it metastasizes (spreads to other areas of the body).

The doctor may recommend different surgical procedures, including:

  • Extrapleural Pneumonectomy (EPP) – This surgical procedure effectively treats pleural mesothelioma by removing cancerous tumors and the neighboring lung. The 5-year survival rate for EPP is 14%
  • Pleurectomy with Decortication (PD) – This mesothelioma treatment is similar to an EPP that removes the cancerous tumors but allows the lung to stay intact. The 5-year survival rate for a PD surgical procedure used concomitantly with chemotherapy is 23%.
  • Cytoreduction with HIPEC – Surgeons perform cytoreduction by removing cancerous growth while concomitantly treating the body with hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy. The 5-year mortality rate for survivors undergoing cytoreduction with HIPEC is 41% to 47%.

Not every patient is a candidate for the above surgeries. However, the doctor may recommend palliative treatment, including other surgical procedures, to increase comfort and lessen the symptoms of difficulty breathing.

  • Many patients and surviving family members have filed a civil lawsuit against asbestos companies producing materials and products that exposed others to asbestos.
  • Tens of thousands of mesothelioma lawsuits and claims have been filed over the last few decades by patients diagnosed with the condition.
  • Surviving family members who lost a loved one from mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure have filed thousands of wrongful death lawsuits.
  • Mesothelioma patients are entitled to compensation, including workers’ comp benefits, veterans’ benefits, mesothelioma set of months, and mesothelioma verdicts.
  • The average reported cancer settlement ranges between $1 million and $1.5 million.
  • Jurors award pleural mesothelioma patients $2.4 million on average in trial verdicts.
  • Most cancer claims are resolved within nine months on average.

Don’t Be a Statistic. Contact an Attorney Today to Handle Your Cancer Case

Even though oncology science and treatments have improved significantly over the last few decades, there is still no cure for mesothelioma. If you or a family member develop mesothelioma from direct or secondhand exposure, you will likely receive financial compensation for your damages.

Contact our law firm today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or through the contact form to schedule a free consultation. Let us work on your behalf to ensure you receive all available compensation and benefits.

All information you share with our law office remains confidential through an attorney-client relationship.

Resources: [1] Penn Medicine, [2], [3] PubMed, [4], [5] PubMed, [6] RAND Corporation, [7] Cleveland Clinic, [8] American Society of Clinical Oncology

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