It’s unlikely that anyone walks around wondering if they’re going to develop mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a relatively rare form of cancer, and nearly all cases trace back to asbestos exposure. So, unless you know you were exposed to asbestos, you wouldn’t likely give the cancer much thought.
However, one of the worst things about mesothelioma is that people don’t catch it early. Usually, it has already started spreading throughout the body. This makes it harder to treat. As a result, you want to pay attention to anything that might help you detect the disease earlier. This includes information about the states where people are most at risk.
Two statistics about mesothelioma in the United States
The ten states where people are most likely to develop mesothelioma were mostly in the north:
- West Virginia
Notably, both Alaska and Maine had mesothelioma rates that were nearly double the U.S. average. By contrast, the residents of ten other states can take some comfort in their low mesothelioma rates:
- South Dakota
- New Mexico
- North Dakota
Most mesothelioma victims suffered their asbestos exposure on the job. With that in mind, these statistics say a lot about asbestos mining and manufacturing across the United States.
There is good news among these numbers
The good news is that the data shows more than just where people are most likely to get mesothelioma. It also shows that mesothelioma rates have dropped over the past 15 years. In 1999, we saw 0.9 cases per 100,000 people, but that number has now dropped to 0.6 cases. This owes largely to the fact that manufacturers finally moved away from asbestos-based products.
We will still see more mesothelioma cases in the future. This owes largely to the long latency period. It can take as much as 40 or 50 years for tumors to develop after exposure. And we will see more cases tied to “legacy asbestos” in old buildings. But the numbers reinforce what we already know: Mesothelioma is caused by asbestos. When we remove asbestos from our lives, mesothelioma rates will plummet.
In the meantime, the infographics offer one other helpful reminder. If you live in a state with above-average mesothelioma rates, you should mention any history of asbestos exposure to your doctor. Early detection is the key to the most aggressive and successful treatments.