CDC reports increase in mesothelioma deaths among women

In a recent study published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, researchers analyzed the incidence of malignant mesothelioma mortality in females in the US.

Occupational exposure to asbestos is commonly reported by men working in industries including construction and manufacturing. Various studies have also reported the incidence of exposure to asbestos in women. However, there is limited data related to the occurrences of mortality caused by mesothelioma in women. 

Study: Malignant Mesothelioma Mortality in Women — United States, 1999–2020. Image Credit: Robert Coolen / ShutterstockStudy: Malignant Mesothelioma Mortality in Women — United States, 1999–2020. Image Credit: Robert Coolen / Shutterstock

About the study

In the present study, researchers characterized the deaths reported as related to mesothelioma and analyzed the temporal trends associated with mesothelioma mortality in women residing in the US.

The team identified deaths related to mesothelioma from 1999 to 2020 and also included any death certificates having the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) code for malignant mesothelioma. The analysis was restricted to the mortality reported in women aged 25 years and above due to the long latency observed in mesothelioma. The age-adjusted death rates were evaluated per each state to estimate the time trends in deaths across the country.

Furthermore, the team categorized various occupations as per the four-digit 2012 US Census Bureau coding system. As a result, the researchers found information related to industries and occupations for 92.3% of the total malignant mesothelioma deaths reported across 47 jurisdictions in the country.  

Results

The study results showed that the annual number of deaths related to mesothelioma among women increased substantially from 489 deaths in the year 1999 to 614 in 2020. However, the death rate per one million women was 4.83 in 1999 which reduced significantly to 4.15 in 2020. Moreover, the highest number of deaths due to mesothelioma was observed in the health care and social assistance industry and the homemaker occupation.

Malignant mesothelioma* annualized age-adjusted death rate† per 1 million women aged ≥25 years — United States, 1999–2020

Malignant mesothelioma* annualized age-adjusted death rate† per 1 million women aged ≥25 years — United States, 1999–2020

Between 1999 and 2020, a total of 12,227 deaths occurred due to malignant mesothelioma among women aged 25 years and above, with 94.0% of deaths having malignant mesothelioma as the listed cause of death. Among these, 90.7% of deaths due to malignant mesothelioma were reported in women aged 55 years and above. Moreover, 93.6% of malignant mesothelioma deaths were observed in White women, while 94.6% were reported in non-Hispanic women.

The different types of malignant mesothelioma related to the reported deaths included 7.9% with mesothelioma of pleura, 9.2% with mesothelioma of peritoneum, 0.3% of the pericardium, 11.3% of other sites, and 72.3% were of an unspecified location. The team also noted that from 1999 to 2020, the age-adjusted death rate for malignant mesothelioma was more than 6.0 per a million women in the states of Maine, Louisiana, Minnesota, Oregon, Montana, Wisconsin, and Washington.

Among the 21 industry groups identified by the team, 15,7% of the deaths due to malignant mesothelioma were reported in the health care and social assistance, 11.3% in the education services, and 8.8% in the manufacturing industry. In 2020, malignant mesothelioma was listed in the death certificates of 132 women as the cause of death. The team also noted that the highest number of malignant mesothelioma deaths were reported in 22.8% of homemakers, 5.6% of elementary and middle school teachers, and 4.9% of registered nurses.     

Overall, the study findings highlighted the importance of monitoring the potential risk of exposure to asbestos fibers to curb malignant mesothelioma mortality.

Journal reference:
Bhavana Kunkalikar

Written by

Bhavana Kunkalikar

Bhavana Kunkalikar is a medical writer based in Goa, India. Her academic background is in Pharmaceutical sciences and she holds a Bachelor's degree in Pharmacy. Her educational background allowed her to foster an interest in anatomical and physiological sciences. Her college project work based on ‘The manifestations and causes of sickle cell anemia’ formed the stepping stone to a life-long fascination with human pathophysiology.

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