Women’s Health Study Examines Link Between Incidence of Mesothelioma and Ovarian Cancer

Asbestos has long been known to cause malignant mesothelioma, a rare and fatal form of cancer that is diagnosed in roughly 3,500 Americans each year. But recent reports of the carcinogenic material contaminating talc-based personal care products have led to closer examination of its role in the development of ovarian cancer, and that in turn has raised questions about other asbestos exposures that women have experienced. A study published in the July issue of Journal of Women’s Health specifically examined the geographic co-occurrence of the two illnesses, and reached disturbing conclusions.

States With Highest Rates of Mesothelioma Also Have Highest Ovarian Cancer Rates

Asbestos has been most closely linked to malignant mesothelioma and other illnesses that are most frequently diagnosed in older men. This is because men were most frequently exposed to the material in traditional occupational settings. There has been little known about asbestos’ role in ovarian cancer, in large part because women had less exposure to the material. 

The study led by S. Jane Henley set out to determine whether there was a geographic link between mesothelioma incidence and ovarian cancer incidence, and if so whether that link could be tied to exposure to asbestos. The scientists relied on data from the years 2003 to 2015 that had already been collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Program for Cancer Registries and the National Cancer Institute Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program. 

Study Reveals Clear Correlation

The statistical evidence that the group examined made it clear that the states with the highest rate of mesothelioma also had clearly higher ovarian cancer rates, with the average rate of ovarian cancer incidence 10% higher in the states that had the highest incidence of mesothelioma than in the states with the lowest incidence of mesothelioma. 

While the report’s conclusion pointed to the decline in potential for asbestos exposure since the 1970s, it also indicated concerns about asbestos that remains in place from previous applications. Combining this data with the more recent concerns about asbestos contamination that persists in personal care products makes it clear that both ovarian cancer and mesothelioma will continue to be a significant problem for the foreseeable future. 

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or ovarian cancer, you need information on asbestos exposure and how it may have happened to you. For assistance contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our Mesothelioma.net news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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