A recent study published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society revealed that the global rates of mesothelioma mortality and incidence have declined over the last few decades. This means that fewer people are being diagnosed with and passing away from mesothelioma than before.

This asbestos-caused cancer is still considered an aggressive disease that requires specialized medicare care. However, the global decrease in mortality rates points to continued advances in mesothelioma treatment that are offering patients the potential for a longer, fuller life.

Learn more about the results of the study and what it means for patients below.

Understanding Mesothelioma Mortality Rates

Global mesothelioma mortality rates decreased by 9.6% between 1990 and 2019, according to the study.

Mortality rates, measured by how many people out of 100,000 die from a specific cause, help researchers and public health officials understand the burdens of a particular disease on the public.

Some regions saw even greater decreases in mortality:

  • Andean Latin America, including seven countries in South America, had a 48% decrease in mesothelioma mortality.
  • North America, including Canada, had a 14.7% decrease in mesothelioma mortality.

While these decreased rates are encouraging, the research team noted that other areas experienced increased incidence and mortality rates. This means that mesothelioma continues to pose a risk to people around the world because of the global use of asbestos.

Learn more about how asbestos leads to mesothelioma and how patients can access medical and financial help in our Free Mesothelioma Guide.

Treatment Advances Could Be Responsible for Lower Mortality

As mesothelioma mortality rates appear to be declining, doctors are also seeing improved life expectancies for some patients thanks to treatment advancements.

In a recent interview with Mesothelioma Hope, thoracic surgeon Dr. Taylor Ripley shared that multimodal treatments combining surgery and chemotherapy have been the driving force behind improved survival.

“Over the last 20 years, ​​we’ve started seeing the longest survival we’d ever seen. In the 1990s, we saw about an average 19-month life expectancy, but now we are seeing 30-plus months.”

Dr. Taylor Ripley, pleural mesothelioma specialist at Baylor Lung Institute

Dr. Ripley is part of a clinical trial exploring how immunotherapy, which uses immune-boosting drugs to help the body fight off cancer cells, can further improve survival after surgery and chemotherapy. He believes this multi-pronged approach will continue to provide mesothelioma patients with better treatment outcomes, allowing them to survive for many years.

This is one example of multiple new treatment approaches being tested in mesothelioma clinical trials every year. As of January 2024, more than 70 clinical trials are actively recruiting mesothelioma patients to receive different combinations of treatments.

Get Help on Your Path to Becoming a Mesothelioma Survivor

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you don’t have to walk this path alone.

Our compassionate Patient Advocates are ready to help you find the support and guidance you need. Some of the mesothelioma survivors we’ve supported have beaten the odds and outlived their prognosis by 15+ years.

We can connect you with experienced specialists, top cancer centers, and clinical trials near you so you can get the life-extending treatment you need.

Call us at (866) 608-8933 now or sign up for our Free Doctor Match program to get started.

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Laura WrightWritten by:

Lead Editor

Laura Wright is a journalist and content strategist with more than 15 years of professional experience. She attended college at the University of Florida, graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2008. Her writing has been featured in The Gainesville Sun and other regional publications throughout Florida.

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  1. Han, J., et al. (2023). Global, Regional, and National Burden of Mesothelioma 1990-2019: A Systematic Analysis of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. Annals of the American Thoracic Society, 20(7), 976–983. Retrieved January 11, 2024, from https://www.atsjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1513/AnnalsATS.202209-802OC
  2. Healio. (January 2024). Mesothelioma incidence, death rates dropped between 1990 and 2019. Retrieved January 11, 2024, from https://www.healio.com/news/pulmonology/20240108/mesothelioma-incidence-death-rates-dropped-between-1990-and-2019

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