The incidence of malignant mesothelioma in Australia 1982-1988

Am J Ind Med. 1991;20(5):643-55. doi: 10.1002/ajim.4700200507.


From 1980 to 1985, the Australian Mesothelioma Surveillance Program, and since 1986, the Australian Mesothelioma Register, have been collecting data on all cases of malignant mesothelioma that could be ascertained in Australia. Incidence rates were calculated on 854 Program and 696 Register cases (total 1271) diagnosed in Australia between January 1, 1982 and December 31, 1988. Australia has one of the highest national rates of mesothelioma in the world (15.8 cases per million of population aged 20 years and older), and the rate is rising. The rate is far higher in males (28.3) than females (3.3). The Western Australian rate (28.9) is the highest among the states, as may be expected because of the crocidolite mine at Wittenoom; however, the largest numbers of cases occur in the more populous and industrial New South Wales. The high incidence rate, its expected continuing increase, and absence of a history of exposure to asbestos in approximately 28% of cases, demand consideration of potential environmental factors other than asbestos in the causation of this tumor, as well as continued surveillance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Asbestos / adverse effects*
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Mesothelioma / chemically induced
  • Mesothelioma / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Pleural Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Pleural Neoplasms / epidemiology*


  • Asbestos