Although reported incidence rates have increased in the past 20 years, mesothelioma is still a relatively rare cancer. The mesothelioma incidence, or number of cases reported each year, is approximately one per 1,000,000 people. In the U.S., this adds up to be between 2,000 and 3,000 new cases each year.

According to statistics, about 70 to 80 percent of all mesothelioma incidences are caused by asbestos exposure. Although men and women of all ages can develop mesothelioma, the incidence of mesothelioma is more common in men than in women, and risk increases with age.

Mesothelioma Incidence by Type

There are three different types of mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lining around the lungs, is the most common mesothelioma type. In the U.S., the incidence of pleural mesothelioma is about 1400 new cases each year.

Next, peritoneal mesothelioma, which affects the lining surrounding the abdominal cavity, is the second most common mesothelioma type. In the U.S., the incidence of peritoneal mesothelioma is about 400 new cases each year.

Finally, pericardial mesothelioma affects the lining around the heart. While the incidence of pericardial mesothelioma is rare, accounting for less than 10% of all mesothelioma cases, pericardial mesothelioma is the most dangerous form of mesothelioma. In the U.S., the incidence of pericardial mesothelioma is about 200 new cases each year.

Mesothelioma Incidence by Industry & Occupation

The incidence of mesothelioma is directly related to asbestos exposure. Most people who develop mesothelioma were exposed to asbestos at work. Many jobs involve a high risk of asbestos exposure, and in fact, statistics suggest that more than 1.3 million workers are exposed to asbestos each year. Workers in the following professions face an increased risk for asbestos exposure:

  • mining
  • railroad
  • manufacturing
  • automobile-related
  • shipyard

Trends in Mesothelioma Incidence

Mesothelioma incidence models predict the future incidence of mesothelioma based on the typical mesothelioma latency period and the years during which asbestos exposure was at its peak. Since the mesothelioma latency period can be up to 50 years and asbestos exposure peaked around 1975, some mesothelioma incidence models project that the incidence of mesothelioma will steadily rise over the next ten years.

If you or a loved one suffer from mesothelioma, our experienced attorneys can assess your case and explain your legal rights and options.

Published November 17, 2011 by