On 5 June 2014, the Institut de Veille Sanitaire (French institute for public health surveillance – InVS) published the first results of the mesothelioma monitoring implemented in January 2012 when mesothelioma became, by law, a disease subject to mandatory reporting. This project was implemented at the request of the Health Ministry, with the support of the National Cancer Institute and professional corporations. It had initially started in 2011 with a pilot phase in six French regions and was part of the 2009 - 2013 Cancer Plan. It is now part of the 2014 - 2019 Cancer Plan.
The InVS explains that this programme is "a comprehensive national system to increase epidemiological knowledge of mesothelioma. It’s completing the French national mesothelioma Surveillance Program, based on active surveillance and validated all pleural mesothelioma in 21 districts in 2013. The aims of this system are to monitor the epidemiological situation of mesothelioma throughout the national territory of France and to ameliorate the understanding of environmental causes in 3 populations: mesothelioma of the pleura in men before 50 years and in women and non-pleura mesothelioma".
The report shows that between January 2012 and April 2013, the InVS was informed of 618 new cases of mesothelioma. However, the InVS mentions that this figure is far from exhaustive. In fact, it explained that it was expecting to be informed of 800 to 1,200 new cases of mesothelioma in a year. InVS therefore encourages all doctors and hospitals as well as victims to systematically and immediately inform the InVS in the event of such a diagnosis.
The examination of the 618 notified cases is, however, still of interest. It shows that 89% of the mesothelioma cases that have been notified are pleural mesothelioma, while 9% are mesothelioma of the peritoneum. For the pleural mesothelioma, men are more affected while for peritoneal mesothelioma, more women have been diagnosed. The average age of diagnosis is 71 years old for women and 72.6 years old for men. The report further classifies the number of illnesses according to the region.
The next steps involve a new, more intensive, pilot programme in nine regions in 2014 and a new assessment in 2015 which should be preceded by a new call for notifications.