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Global Mesothelioma Rates Underreported

Researchers estimate one case is not reported for every four or five that are

TUESDAY, Jan. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Worldwide, one case of mesothelioma goes unreported for every four or five that are reported, according to an estimate based on available data on asbestos use and mesothelioma cases published online Jan. 6 in Environmental Health Perspectives.

Eun-Kee Park, of the University of Occupational and Environmental Health in Kitakyushu City, Japan, and colleagues used the relationship between cumulative asbestos use during 1920 to 1970 and the number of mesothelioma cases reported from 1994 to 2008 in the countries with available data on asbestos use and mesothelioma frequency to predict the number of unreported mesothelioma cases in countries that have recorded asbestos use but no available information on mesothelioma.

The researchers determined the 15-year cumulative number of mesothelioma cases to be about 174,300 for the 56 countries with data on mesothelioma occurrence and asbestos use. Extrapolating this calculation to the 33 countries without data on mesothelioma and asbestos use, they estimated a total of about 38,900 mesothelioma cases had occurred between 1994 and 2008.

"We estimate conservatively that, globally, one mesothelioma case has been overlooked for every four to five reported cases. As our estimation is based on asbestos use until 1970, the many countries which increased asbestos use since then should anticipate a higher disease burden in the immediate decades ahead," the authors write.

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