Date: 06 Feb 2011

Epidemiology of Mesothelioma and Historical Background

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Abstract

Mesothelioma is a “new” malignant disease strongly associated with exposure to amphibole asbestos exposure (amosite and crocidolite) environmentally and in the work place. Nonetheless, in recent years, we have learned that many cases of mesothelioma are idiopathic, while some are caused by therapeutic irradiation or chronic inflammation in body cavities. This paper reviews the key epidemiological features of the malignancy in the context of the biological and mineralogical factors that influence mesothelioma development. These tumors challenge the diagnostic pathologist’s acumen, the epidemiologist’s skill in devising meaningful and definitive studies, the industrial hygienist’s knowledge of environmental hazards in diverse occupational settings, and the clinician’s skill in managing an intrepid and uniformly fatal malignancy.