Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1997;23(4):266-270    pdf


Trends in mesothelioma incidence and occupational mesotheliomas in Finland in 1960--1995

by Karjalainen A, Pukkala E, Mattson K, Tammilehto L, Vainio H

Objectives The study analyzed the recent trend in the incidence of mesothelioma in Finland and evaluated the coverage of reporting work-related mesothelioma.

Methods The incidence of mesothelioma in 1960--1995 was retrieved from the Finnish Cancer Registry, and the number of asbestos-associated work-related mesotheliomas were taken from the Finnish Register of Occupational Diseases.

Results The annual number of mesotheliomas increased rapidly in 1975--1990. In the 1990s, the age-adjusted incidence remained relatively stable for Finnish men. The annual number of cases still increased among men over 65 years of age, but decreased slightly among men under 55 years of age and among women. About 35 annual cases were diagnosed among the men and 10--15 among women in the mid-1990s. The reporting of work-related mesotheliomas improved during the Finnish asbestos program in 1987--1992. In 1993--1995 about 30 annual cases (ie, about 90% of all pleural and 50% of the peritoneal mesotheliomas in men) were reported to be work-related.

Conclusion The increasing trend in the incidence of mesothelioma in Finland slowed down in the 1990s, and the maximum of asbestos-related cases in the early 2000s will probably be clearly less than the 100 annual cases estimated in the early 1990s. If the observed trend continues up to 2010, about 40--50 cases among men and 10--20 among the women will then be diagnosed annually. Altogether 40--50 of these cases would be related to occupational asbestos exposure.