Malignant Mesothelioma — Many Hidden Cases

Quoted from

Malignant Mesothelioma — Many Hidden Cases

Zosia Chustecka

January 6, 2011 — Cases of malignant mesothelioma, caused almost exclusively by exposure to asbestos, are significantly underreported worldwide, concludes a new study published online January 6 in Environmental Health Perspectives.

This study is the first to provide a global estimate of unreported cases. Many underdeveloped countries do not report mesothelioma, despite extensive use of asbestos. Because there is a direct link between the 2, the study authors used data from countries that do report mesothelioma to extrapolate to the countries that do not. Their conclusion: for every 4 to 5 reported cases of mesothelioma worldwide, at least 1 case goes unreported.

“Our most important finding is the magnitude of unreported mesothelioma in countries that use asbestos at substantial levels but report no cases of the disease,” study coauthor Ken Takahashi, MD, from the University of Occupation and Environmental Health, Kitakyushu City, Japan, said in a statement. Such countries include Russia, Kazakhstan, China, and India, which all rank in the top 15 countries for cumulative asbestos use.

The authors propose a worldwide ban on the mining, use, and export of asbestos, because eliminating exposure to asbestos would prevent mesothelioma.

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