When it comes to mesothelioma, statistical accuracy is essential to making sure that the proper resources are allocated for prevention, treatment, and more. That’s why there is a rising level of concern over what is happening with Quebec’s health ministry: in response to a newspaper inquiry, they released numbers on mesothelioma incidence for the first time in 7 years, and the numbers that they provided are very much in question.
Mesothelioma is a rare and fatal form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. The mineral was once used widely in both the United States and Canada until it was discovered to be a dangerous carcinogen: since that time it’s use has been minimized in the United States and it has been banned entirely in Canada. But the Quebec government has invested in a private company that is contracted to remove magnesium from asbestos tailings in old asbestos mines, and some health advocates are wondering whether that investment is the reason that the rising number of asbestos-related deaths is being kept quiet.
According to the report issued by the health ministry, the number of cases of mesothelioma in Quebec has nearly doubled since 2010 from 45 in that year to 88 in 2017. As if these numbers weren’t concerning enough, according to asbestos expert Kathleen Ruff, they simply aren’t accurate. Quebec requires that all mesothelioma deaths be reported in what is known as the MADO database (maladies à déclaration obligatoire), but two thirds of cases were not properly entered by physicians from three leading Quebec hospitals. Not only are cases being underreported, there are also disparities between the numbers in the database and what the health ministry is reporting: though the health ministry indicated 45 mesothelioma deaths in 2012, the MADO database reports 74 mesothelioma death in that year. Ruff says, “More and more people are becoming sick with mesothelioma, but the reporting is not adequate. The MADO figures are not reliable or credible. These figures represent only a small fraction of the number of deaths caused by asbestos. In addition to mesothelioma, asbestos causes more than twice as many cases of lung and other cancers, as well as asbestosis. What is shocking and heartbreaking is that the number of new cases of mesothelioma also continues to rise.”
Though Ruff questions whether the Quebec government has been underreporting mesothelioma in an effort to downplay its impact on workers, the government denies these charges. The coverup questions are reminiscent of what happened to workers in the United States, when asbestos companies hid the mineral’s dangers in order to continue earning big profits. If you or someone you love has been affected by mesothelioma and you need information your legal rights, contact us today at 1-800-966-2244.