Pleural thickening is an industrial disease that is often caused by the long term inhalation of asbestos materials and a number of new sufferers are diagnosed each year in the UK. The disease can often take over 10 years to manifest itself and many cases of pleural thickening occur due to exposure many years ago and are only being diagnosed now.
Important statistics relating to pleural thickening
Worryingly since HSE figures recording the number of new pleural thickening cases on a yearly basis began in 1991, it is apparent that there were more cases of pleural thickening diagnosed in 2010 than at any time in the last 20 years.
In 1991 there were just 150 cases of pleural thickening diagnosed. This is compared with 505 cases in 2010.
The average number of new pleural thickening cases reported each year in the last decade was 340.
The number of sufferers of benign pleural disease is heavily skewed towards males. In 2010 there were 53 cases diagnosed in females. This is compared with 724 cases in males (these statistics include conditions such as pleural plaques).