Even if all of these patients had a life expectancy of just 65, they still would have lost more than 53,000 life years.
Raleigh, NC (PRWEB) October 18, 2013
A new NIOSH study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine and reported by Surviving Mesothelioma finds that more than 427,000 life years were lost from 1999 to 2010 because of early deaths from mesothelioma and asbestosis.
Mesothelioma and asbestosis are the two most deadly diseases caused by exposure to the mineral asbestos. Mesothelioma is an aggressive malignancy that spreads across internal body membranes. It is highly resistant to standard cancer treatments. Asbestosis is a form of lung scarring also caused by exposure to the microscopic shards of asbestos. Because asbestos was once a popular component of building and insulation products, both diseases continue to be threats for people who have worked in construction or industrial settings.
According to the new NIOSH study based on mortality data from the National Center for Health Statistics, asbestosis patients who died between 1999 and 2010 lost a total of 56,907 potential life years, based on what would have been their normal life expectancy. When life expectancy was capped at 65, asbestosis patients still sacrificed 2,167 potential life years.
For mesothelioma patients, the number of potential life years lost because of early death was even higher. When compared to their normal life expectancy, mesothelioma patients who died between 1999 and 2010 lost a total of 370,098 potential life years. Even if all of these patients had a life expectancy of just 65, they still would have lost more than 53,000 life years. Despite strict government guidelines for using and handling asbestos, life years lost to mesothelioma and asbestosis changed little between 1999 and 2010.
The NIOSH team says the “substantial premature mortality burden” of mesothelioma and asbestosis, even in the face of improved treatments and diagnostic tools, points to the fact that trends in these diseases should continue to be carefully monitored. An estimated 2,500 people die of mesothelioma in the U.S. each year.
The original NIOSH study was published in a recent issue of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine. (Bang, KM, et al, “Diseases attributable to asbestos exposure: Years of potential life lost, United States, 1999-2010”, September 20, 2013, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Epub ahead of print. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24108494)
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