Time trends and spatial patterns in the mesothelioma incidence in Slovenia, 1961–2014

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We aimed to explore the temporal and spatial variations in mesothelioma incidence in Slovenia for the last 50 years and, among these, to evaluate the consequences of asbestos usage. The incidence data from the population-based Cancer Registry of Republic of Slovenia for the period 1961–2014 were analysed. The data of asbestos imported to Slovenia were used as a proxy for asbestos exposure in manufacturing areas. Log-linear joinpoint regression and age–period–cohort Poisson models were used in the time-trend analysis. The mesothelioma maps were produced according to the method of local standardized incidence ratio estimates and are presented together with the map of Slovenian major asbestos-exposed locations. The maximum value of the asbestos import curve corresponds to the peak of mesothelioma curve exactly 30 years later. Both increases before the peak are comparable in time interval and steepness. The highest mesothelioma risk was detected for the cohort born between 1940 and 1944. In maps, the mesothelioma clusters manifest around known asbestos sources predominantly in the years 1980–1990, but in the last few years, the geographical distribution is more dispersed. The data from our long-existing population-based cancer registry provide a good insight into the on-going mesothelioma epidemic in Slovenia. Our results imply that the mesothelioma peak has already been reached in Slovenia. In the future, new cases will emerge more randomly throughout the country.

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