Estimating the Number of Asbestos-related Lung Cancer Deaths

The Annals of Occupational Hygiene habe published in their most recent issue an
article on the Number of Asbestos-related Lung Cancer Deaths in Great Britain
from 1980 to 2000.

Inhalation of asbestos fibres is known to cause two main kinds of
cancer-mesothelioma and lung cancer. While the vast majority of mesothelioma
cases are generally accepted as being caused by asbestos, the proportion of
asbestos-related lung cancers is less clear and cannot be determined directly
because cases are not clinically distinguishable from those due to other
causes. The aim of this study was to estimate the number of asbestos-related
lung cancers among males by modelling their relative lung cancer mortality
among occupations within Great Britain in terms of smoking habits, mesothelioma
mortality (as an index of asbestos exposure) and occupation type (as a proxy
for socio-economic factors).

The effect of asbestos exposure in predicting lung cancer mortality was weak in
comparison to smoking habits and occupation type. The proportion of current
smokers in occupational groups and average age at which they started smoking
were particularly important factors. 

Conclusions: Asbestos-related lung cancer is likely to have accounted for 2­3%
of all lung cancer deaths among males in Great Britain over the last two
decades of the 20th century. Asbestos-related lung cancers are likely to remain
an important component of the total number of lung cancer deaths in the future
as part of the legacy of past asbestos exposures in occupational settings.

Further information

AplusA-online.de - Source: Annals of Occupational Hygiene