Psychological aspects of asbestos-related mesothelioma and knowledge of high risk for cancer

Cancer Detect Prev. 1981;4(1-4):181-4.


Ten patients with a diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma were assessed for history of asbestos exposure, acquisition of and reactions to risk information, smoking behavior, and feelings about their disease and the asbestos industry. Mean age was 59 years; median span of time from diagnosis to interview was 10 months. Only two of seven patients with direct occupational asbestos exposure acquired risk information from a professional source. Lack of concern and denial are the reactions reported most frequently to risk information. Behavioral findings support the reported attitudinal reactions. None of the eight smokers in the sample stopped smoking after receiving increased risk information. Not a single patient increased his visits to a physician. Patients commonly expressed feelings of of being unlucky in reactions to the disease. Seven of the ten patients denied any feelings of anger toward the asbestos industry. These preliminary findings suggest the need for better information and education of high risk individuals.

MeSH terms

  • Asbestos / toxicity*
  • Health Education
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Mesothelioma / etiology
  • Mesothelioma / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / psychology
  • Risk


  • Asbestos