In a 2014 study, the Italian League Against Cancer set out to determine the trend of mesothelioma incidences around the world. Researchers compiled and studied recent data from several countries, and determined that the disease is likely to become more common as time goes on.
Today, asbestos -- the only known cause of mesothelioma -- is banned in 55 countries. The study showed that around 84% of the world's population is still exposed to asbestos in other countries that still utilize the toxic substance. Some of the highest mortality rates occur within areas that used the substance extensively in shipbuilding and other construction projects, such as countries within Europe, Australia, and North America.
The report emphasizes the fact that the data on mesothelioma in many parts of the world is sparse and inconclusive. Without proper attention, the world will continue to suffer from a lack of information on this asbestos-related disease. And given that mesothelioma usually takes decades to develop within an individual, the number of those affected is likely to increase across the world as years pass by.
Bianchi C, Bianchi T. Global mesothelioma epidemic: Trend and features. Indian J Occup Environ Med [serial online] 2014 [cited 2015 Mar 11];18:82-8. Available from: http://www.ijoem.com/text.asp?2014/18/2/82/146897