Indicator #12: Incidence of Malignant Mesothelioma

Print PDF 

Malignant mesothelioma is a rare but highly fatal cancer of the thin membranes surrounding the chest cavity (pleura) or abdominal cavity (peritoneum). Much less frequently, this tumor affects other sites (e.g., pericardium). The only well-established risk factor for mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos fibers. Prior asbestos exposure, primarily from exposure in the workplace, has been reported in 62 to 85 percent of all mesothelioma cases.


Age-Standardized Incidence Rate of Mesothelioma 

Indicator # 12: Cases of Malignant Mesothelioma, Maryland
Year Number Rate* Age-Standardized Incidence Rate*
*Cases per million residents
2000 47 11.3 9.0
2001 51 12.0 10.0
2002 64 14.9 13.0
2003 57 13.1 11.0
2004 48 10.9 9.0
2005 46 10.3 9.0
2006 44 9.8 8.0
2007 57 12.6 10.0
2008 50 11.0 9.0
2009 42 10.1 9.0
2010 70 15.0 15.0
2011 65 13.8 10.9
2012 46 9.6 7.7

More about this Indicator

Why is this indicator important?

Malignant mesothelioma, while relatively rare, is a fatal cancer largely attributable to workplace exposure to asbestos. Tracking of malignant mesothelioma should be undertaken to document the burden of occupational disease, to design, target, and evaluate the impact of prevention efforts over time, and to identify previously unrecognized settings in which workers may continue to be at risk of asbestos exposure.

Data Source for this Indicator

SEERStat Static data (Numbers of mesothelioma cases); U.S. Census Bureau (population statistics to calculate rates).

U.S. data and information about this indicator obtained from

Limitation of Indicator:

Not all cases of malignant mesothelioma are caused by occupational exposures. Because cancer is a disease of long latency, current incidence is not indicative of current exposures and it may be many years before reductions in occupational exposures affect incidence. State of residence of the decedent may not have been the state of exposure.