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Upcoming epidemic of asbestos-related malignant pleural mesothelioma in Taiwan: A prediction of incidence in the next 30 years.

Journal of the Formosan Medical Association 2018 July 30 [Link]

Lin RT, Chang YY, Wang JD, Lee LJ

Abstract

BACKGROUND/PURPOSE:
Globally, asbestos-related diseases (ARDs) keep rising over the coming decades. The epidemic of ARDs will be a burden on public health. We aimed to predict the malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) incidence in the next 30 years for Taiwan based on historical asbestos consumption.
METHODS:
We collected annual data on local asbestos consumption during 1939-2015 and sex-specific incidence of pleural cancer as a proxy for MPM during 1979-2013. We applied Poisson log-linear models to predict future MPM numbers under the assumption that latency periods between asbestos exposure and MPM incidence were between 25 and 45 years.
RESULTS:
Asbestos consumption reached a peak in the 1980s, with a total of 668 thousand metric tons during 1939-2015. The observed number of MPM incidence increased by 9- and 6-fold in males and females during 1979-2013, with a cumulative number of 907. Given a latency period of 31 years, MPM incidences were expected to peak around 2012-2016 for males and 2016-2020 for females. In 2017-2046, the predicted total number of new MPM might reach 659 cases (95% confidence interval = 579-749); and the male to female ratios ranged from 1.8 to 2.8.
CONCLUSION:
The MPM epidemic in Taiwan will likely peak in 2012-2020 as a result of local asbestos consumption. Approximately 659 new MPM cases in the next 30 years warrant an urgent need to implement a total asbestos ban and put more resources on a comprehensive surveillance, diagnosis, and follow-up health care system for ARDs.

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