Classification Change Affected Documentation of Mortality Rates

Treatment & Doctors
Reading Time: 2 mins
Publication Date: 02/14/2011
Fact Checked
Our fact-checking process begins with a thorough review of all sources to ensure they are high quality. Then we cross-check the facts with original medical or scientific reports published by those sources, or we validate the facts with reputable news organizations, medical and scientific experts and other health experts. Each page includes all sources for full transparency.
Reviewed

Asbestos.com is the nation’s most trusted mesothelioma resource

The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com has provided patients and their loved ones the most updated and reliable information on mesothelioma and asbestos exposure since 2006.

Our team of Patient Advocates includes a medical doctor, a registered nurse, health services administrators, veterans, VA-accredited Claims Agents, an oncology patient navigator and hospice care expert. Their combined expertise means we help any mesothelioma patient or loved one through every step of their cancer journey.

More than 30 contributors, including mesothelioma doctors, survivors, health care professionals and other experts, have peer-reviewed our website and written unique research-driven articles to ensure you get the highest-quality medical and health information.

About The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com

  • Assisting mesothelioma patients and their loved ones since 2006.
  • Helps more than 50% of mesothelioma patients diagnosed annually in the U.S.
  • A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
  • 5-star reviewed mesothelioma and support organization.
Learn More About Us

Testimonials

"My family has only the highest compliment for the assistance and support that we received from The Mesothelioma Center. This is a staff of compassionate and knowledgeable individuals who respect what your family is experiencing and who go the extra mile to make an unfortunate diagnosis less stressful. Information and assistance were provided by The Mesothelioma Center at no cost to our family."
Lashawn
Mesothelioma patient’s daughter
  • Google Review Rating
  • BBB Review Rating

How to Cite Asbestos.com’s Article

APA

Whitmer, M. (2020, October 16). Classification Change Affected Documentation of Mortality Rates. Asbestos.com. Retrieved December 3, 2022, from https://www.asbestos.com/news/2011/02/14/mesothelioma-classification-change-affected-documentation-of-mortality-rates/

MLA

Whitmer, Michelle. "Classification Change Affected Documentation of Mortality Rates." Asbestos.com, 16 Oct 2020, https://www.asbestos.com/news/2011/02/14/mesothelioma-classification-change-affected-documentation-of-mortality-rates/.

Chicago

Whitmer, Michelle. "Classification Change Affected Documentation of Mortality Rates." Asbestos.com. Last modified October 16, 2020. https://www.asbestos.com/news/2011/02/14/mesothelioma-classification-change-affected-documentation-of-mortality-rates/.

Studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate that in the United States, at least 43,073 people have been killed by asbestos since 1979. However, they also state that this figure could account for as little as 20 percent of asbestos-related deaths.

The CDC’s assessment of mesothelioma mortality rates suggests that the number of nationwide asbestos-related deaths between 1979 and 2001 could be as high as 230,000 people. The significant difference between this figure and their original estimation is primarily attributed to the way the government classifies malignant mesothelioma deaths.

Prior to 1998, mesothelioma deaths were classified only as part of a group of asbestos cancers. Early death certificates only classified deaths by the location of the cancer instead of the cell types that composed a tumor. As a result, many mesothelioma cases were recorded simply as cancers of the pleura or peritoneum. Although the cancer was indicated in additional paperwork, the coding that is used to report deaths to statistics agencies only indicated the site of occurrence. Once the government assigned codes to the disease in 1999, the death rates nearly doubled.

With 935 fatalities recorded in 1998 and 2,343 noted in 1999, the CDC began to investigate the drastic increase. After reviewing the pleural and peritoneal cancer patients’ death certificates for any mention of mesothelioma, the CDC recalculated the registry records, creating a new proportion of total asbestos deaths that were estimated to be the disease. This more accurately reflected the number of fatalities that were the result of asbestos exposure before the 1999 coding switch.

Mesothelioma coding currently uses a system that identifies malignant neoplasms in the lining of the organs that may be affected. This helps differentiate between mesothelioma, which affects only the membrane around certain organs, and other cancers that attack the organs themselves. Pleural cancer is coded as ICD-9 code 163, peritoneal cancer is classified as ICD-9 code 158 and pericardial cancer is referred to as ICD-9 code 164.

Medically Reviewed by Top Mesothelioma Doctors
Free Mesothelioma Guide