Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that takes many years to develop following the inhalation of asbestos fibres, but is usually rapidly fatal following disease onset. Annual deaths in Britain increased steeply over the last 50 years, a consequence of mainly occupational asbestos exposures that occurred because of the widespread industrial use of asbestos during 1950-1980.
The Health and Safety Executive has recently published headline statistics for mesothelioma mortality in Great Britain from 1968 to 2014.
The data shows that there were 2,515 mesothelioma deaths in Great Britain in 2014, a similar number to the 2,556 deaths in 2013, and 2,549 deaths in 2012. It also notes that the latest projections suggest that the number of deaths per year will peak at 2,500 and then begin to decline.
The latest information shows:
- There were 2,515 mesothelioma deaths in Great Britain in 2014, a similar number to the 2,556 deaths in 2013, and 2,549 deaths in 2012
- The latest projections suggest that there will continue to be around 2,500 deaths per year for the rest of this current decade before annual numbers begin to decline
- The continuing increase in annual mesothelioma deaths in recent years has been driven mainly by deaths among those aged 75 and above
- In 2014 there were 2,101 male deaths and 414 female deaths
- There were 2,215 new cases of mesothelioma assessed for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) in 2014 compared with 2,145 in 2013
- Men who worked in the building industry when asbestos was used extensively are now among those most at risk of mesothelioma.