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Mesothelioma: Tackling the “despicable disease”

Workers on a construction site

Exposure to any form of asbestos presents a real risk to the health of those affected. With as many as 125 million people (as of 2013) thought to have been exposed to asbestos while in the workplace, it is obvious that many will experience an asbestos-related illness as a result.

One of the worst types of asbestos-related illnesses is Mesothelioma. This cancer affects tens of thousands of people each year across the globe, with four in five cases of mesothelioma occuring as a result of exposure to asbestos.

The most despicable cancer you can imagine being diagnosed with. It’s a death sentence.

Although we have seen a complete asbestos ban in the UK since 1999, there is still work to be done to prevent exposure and reduce the frequency of mesothelioma. There are many historic cases of exposure that result in asbestos-related illnesses, and it is thought that as many as 500,000 buildings in the UK still contain amounts of asbestos.

Statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) suggest that over 5,000 deaths in the UK are caused by asbestos each year, including over 2,500 caused by mesothelioma.

Liz Darlison, Director of Services at the charity Mesothelioma UK, believes mesothelioma is “the most despicable cancer you can imagine being diagnosed with. It’s a death sentence.” However, she has also said that the UK has “an opportunity to fight this disease head on and do something about it.”

So, while we have made great strides in raising awareness of the risks posed by exposure to asbestos, there is still much more to do to ensure health risks are reduced.


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