The Burden of Mesothelioma in Minnesota
Mesothelioma Over the five-year period 2003-2007, an average of 47 men and
17 women were diagnosed with mesothelioma in Minnesota
in Minnesota each year. Nearly 80 percent of mesotheliomas were diagnosed
among persons 65 years of age and older. This reflects both the
Mesothelioma is a cancer of the tissues that line the chest long delay between exposure and diagnosis and the fact that
and the abdominal cavity and is believed to be caused almost asbestos use in the U.S. has dropped by 98 percent since the
exclusively by inhalation of asbestos fibers. The delay between early 1970s. In 2007, the age-adjusted incidence rate for meso-
exposure to asbestos and diagnosis with mesothelioma is 30-50 thelioma in Minnesota was 2.0 new cases for every 100,000 men,
years. Data from the SEER Program indicates that the five-year and 0.4 new cases for every 100,000 women.
relative survival rate is about eight percent, similar to survival
Over the five-year period 2003-2007, an average of 44 men and
for pancreas and liver cancers.
12 women died of mesothelioma each year in Minnesota. About
Despite the fact that asbestos was widely used in commercial 85 percent of mesothelioma deaths occurred among persons 65
products until the early 1970s, mesothelioma is a relatively rare years of age and older. In 2007, the age-adjusted mortality rate
cancer. It is an ongoing concern in Minnesota because rates for mesothelioma in Minnesota was 1.5 deaths per 100,000 men
among men are significantly higher in the Northeast Region and 0.2 deaths for every 100,000 women.
than elsewhere in the state, and because a cohort of taconite
Disparities in Mesothelioma
miners from across northern Minnesota appears to have an
Mesothelioma is nearly four times more common among men
usually high occurrence of this disease. More information on
than women both in Minnesota and nationally, reflecting that
mesothelioma and the studies being undertaken in Minnesota
most exposures to asbestos occur occupationally in jobs
to investigate this concern is on the MDH Center for Occupational
primarily held by men.
Health and Safety web site: www.health.state.mn.us/divs/hpcd/
Mesothelioma Incidence Trends by Gender in Minnesota and the U.S.
Rate per 100,000 persons
4.5% annually. 1999-2007
1988-2007 No signiﬁcant trend.
75 80 85 90 95 00 05 07
19 19 19 19 19 20 20 20
Year of Diagnosis
Source: MCSS (May 2010) and SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2007. Rates are age-adjusted to the 2000 U.S. population. National incidence is for the
white population in SEER 9 Regions, delay-adjusted. National mortality is for the U.S. white population. The results of Joinpoint trend analyses are only
shown for Minnesota. A hashed bar indicates where the trend significantly changed direction. Interval trends are statistically significant unless stated otherwise.
Minnesota Cancer Facts and Figures 2011 41
Trends in Mesothelioma The mesothelioma incidence rate among men was about two
The incidence rate of mesothelioma among men in Minnesota times higher in Northeast Minnesota (4.5 new cases per 100,000
increased rapidly by 4.5 percent a year on average from 1988 to males) and in St. Louis County (4.1) than the state average for
1999. Since 1999 the rate has decreased significantly by an average males. Among women, the mesothelioma incidence rate was
of 4.0 percent annually. The incidence rate among women has significantly higher in Anoka (1.4) and Dakota (1.4) Counties
been stable over the 20-year entire period. A similar pattern has than the state average for females (data not shown). Mesothelioma
been seen among men in the geographic areas participating in incidence rates among women in Northeast Minnesota and
the SEER Program. St. Louis County were the same (0.3) and well below the state
rate. The fact that mesothelioma rates in northeast Minnesota
Geographic Differences in Mesothelioma are elevated among men but not among women supports the
Over the five-year period 2003-2007, mesothelioma incidence contention that the increased risk may be due to occupational
rates in Minnesota (2.2 new cases per 100,000 males and 0.6 rather than environmental factors.
cases per 100,000 females) were very similar to those reported
by SEER for non-Hispanic white men and women (2.2 new cases
per 100,000 males and 0.5 cases per 100,000 females).
Mesothelioma Incidence Rates among Males in
Minnesota Regions and Six Largest Counties,
Minnesota = 2.2 Significantly higher than state average
SEER* = 2.2 Not significantly different from state average
Significantly lower than state average
2.3 St. Louis
Ottertail Wadena Wing
West Central Central Pine
2.7 1.6 Mille Anoka 2.9
Grant Douglas Kanabec
Stevens Pope Stearns
St. Louis 4.1
Chippewa Kandiyohi Hennepin sey
Lac Qui Parle
Yellow Medicine Renville
Lincoln Redwood Le Goodhue
Brown Nicollet Sueur
Southwest South Central Southeast
1.6 Watonwan 1.6 Steele 1.3
Murray Cottonwood Waseca
Blue Earth Dodge Olmsted Winona
Rock Nobles Jackson Martin Faribault Freeborn Mower Fillmore Houston
Rates are per 100,000 persons, age-adjusted to the 2000 U.S. population. Statistical significance
(p < 0.05) based on SEER*Stat analysis using Tewari modification.
*Non-Hispanic whites in the SEER 17 areas excluding the Alaska Native Registry, SEER Cancer
Statistics Review, 1975-2007.
42 Minnesota Cancer Facts and Figures 2011