Australia Faces Spike in Mesothelioma Cases

Authorities in Australia are speculating that over the next 15 years the number of mesothelioma cases diagnosed there will rise from the current 500 cases per year to more than900 diagnosed cases annually. 

A professor from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine using World Health Organization statistics found that the United Kingdom and Australia lead the world in mesothelioma–related deaths each year. Researchers at the Cancer Research UK Epidemiology and Genetics Group theorize that the death rate from asbestos related diseases in  men over the age of 40 will become nearly 100 times more likely to die by the age of 80. 

The same research found that there have been more than 10,000 mesothelioma deaths since the 1980s.  Australia has relied heavily in the past on asbestos materials and products. During the 1970s, for instance, almost 22 million pounds of asbestos was imported to aid in the country’s construction industry. In the United States, Chrysotile is the most commonly used type of asbestos in the construction and equipment industry, and it is responsible for the majority of US mesothelioma cases. 

Brown, blue, and white asbestos are the most common types of asbestos that were in use during the 1970s and 1980s, and since have been banned in Australia.  The commercial mining of asbestos in Australia continued until the 1980s when information about the dangers of asbestos exposure became public, causing a multitude of regulations and laws being passed to protect individuals from the harmful effects.

The rise in Australian mesothelioma cases mirrors the growth of related medical facilities, organizations, and foundations around the country. These include As a result of the increasing cases of mesothelioma being diagnosed in Australia, and due to the suspected increase in death rates in the future, many mesothelioma and cancer related medical facilities have been growing in number around the country. 

Organizations and foundations are also on the rise in Australia, groups like the Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia and the Queensland Asbestos Related Disease Support Society.