Although incidence rates are increasing, mesothelioma is still relatively a rare cancer with an incidence of approximately 1 person per 1,000,000. The incidence varies depending on the lifestyle of a population; populations with high levels of smoking (it does not mean cigarette smoke cause mesothelioma) can reach an incidence up to one thousand mesothelioma cases per million inhabitants.
In addition, geographic factor may also play a role in the development of the disease. The incidence of mesothelioma is higher in Western countries. It is estimated that about 40 people per 1 000000 are diagnosed with mesothelioma in Western industrialized nations. In the United States, the incidence was estimated at 15 persons per 1 000000 in 2004.According to the Journal of American Medical Association, during 1999-2005, a total of 18,068 deaths related to mesothelioma were reported in the United States. The incidence was classified as follow:
- Pleural mesothelioma: 1,572 – 8.7%
- Peritoneal mesothelioma: 657 – 3.6%
- Anatomical site: 2,605 – 14.4%
- Unspecified anatomical site: 13,454 – 74.5%.