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Business & Finance Series: Research Spotlight

Mesothelioma Projection for Britain

Mesothelioma deaths are expected to peak at 2,079 in 2017, according to research by Cass Professor of Actuarial Science, Jens Perch Nielsen and colleagues.

by City Press Office (General enquiries)

A simple benchmark for mesothelioma projection for Britain, by Professor Nielsen, Cass Senior Visiting Fellow, Professor María Dolores Martínez Miranda, along with Professor Bent Nielsen, Nuffield College, Oxford University, compares two established methods of forecasting the future burden of mesothelioma deaths.

Asbestos, a naturally occurring material used extensively in construction throughout a significant proportion of the 20th century, is now most readily associated with the health risks posed by exposure to its fibres and dust. Mesothelioma is one of several pernicious diseases that can arise from exposure.

A rare form of cancer that most typically affects the lungs, it is known to have a long latency period, predominantly affects men and is the cause of an increasing number of deaths in the UK. In 2013 there were 2049 deaths of men under the age of 90 that were caused by mesothelioma. Therefore it is of considerable importance to health services and actuaries that an accurate forecast of the future burden of mesothelioma deaths can be made.

Due to the long latency period of asbestos related illnesses, consideration of exposure to harmful asbestos fibres could be considered necessary for an accurate projection of future mortality rates.

Although the UK keeps good records of number of mesothelioma deaths there are no records of exposure to asbestos fibres, thus necessitating the development of the synthetic measure.


Professor Jens Nielsen said: “This research may assist industry in assessing the potential cost of UK asbestos related claims. Having a simple benchmark reference point might be good, when validating competing forecasts for future cases of mesothelioma.”

PwC Associate Director, Robert Brooks said: “The project of mesothelioma deaths in the UK is fraught with difficulty, due to the lack of data around the population exposed, the level of asbestos exposure and that the deaths have not yet peaked. The simple benchmark provided by this study is useful in comparing results against the different model structures used to estimate future mesothelioma deaths.”

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