A recent study conducted by the Australian National University has shone a bright light on the country’s high incidence of mesothelioma, concluding that Australian citizens continue to suffer the impact of the nation’s historic use of asbestos.
The report card, which is issued every two years, shows that the area most impacted by the disease is the Australian Capital Territory, the southeastern area of the country where the capital city of Canberra is located, though other areas of the country are also severely impacted.
News of the nation’s high rate of malignant mesothelioma follows another report issued last year that laid much of the blame for the epidemic on the use of “Mr. Fluffy,” an asbestos-contaminated loose insulation used in homes.
The effects of mesothelioma are made all the more stark by the study’s overall positive outlook on the nation’s overall life expectancy, which was found to be among the top in the world, with females born in the country recently expected to live to the age of 84.6 and males expected to live to the age of 80.4.
Though those statistics represent a victory for the health profession and improvements made in the overall wellbeing of the country’s people, the numbers related to malignant mesothelioma are extremely troubling.
The global rate of mesothelioma is 1.3 people affected by the disease for every 100,000 people, but Australia’s national rate is 2.5 cases per 100,000 people and the Australian Capital Territory’s incidence rate is 5.2 per 100,000 people.
Even that number is better than the rates in Western Australia, and researchers have indicated that the actual number of people affected by the rare and deadly form of cancer may be higher still, as it can take a substantial amount of time for all death notifications and causes to be officially recorded.
In addition to mesothelioma in Australia having been caused by the use of asbestos-contaminated insulation, there is also significant evidence that the country’s historic mining of asbestos was also a big contributor, particularly in Western Australia where that mining took place.
The report said, “Rates were highest in Western Australia, where the rate for men was more than double the national rate. Exposure to asbestos has been responsible for many cases of mesothelioma in the Western Australian town of Wittenoom, well known for past mining of asbestos.”
As the Australian report indicates, mesothelioma is a problem that affects people all over the world. Here in the United States, victims have many resources available to them, including the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net. To learn how we can help, contact us at 1-800-692-8608.