Rise In Female Mesothelioma Cases Prompts Awareness Call Following International Women’s Day
A rise in female mesothelioma cases has seen a national law firm join clients in calling for greater awareness among women of asbestos-related cancers following International Women’s Day.
While mesothelioma numbers among men have remained stable over the last decade, Cancer Research UK figures suggest mortality rates among women have increased by twenty per cent.
Irwin Mitchell is supporting the Gendered Experience of Mesothelioma Study (GEMS), a study which is currently being undertaken by the University of Sheffield on behalf of Mesothelioma UK, amid concerns that women may have a different experience to men, in terms of awareness and diagnosis of the disease, through to treatment and legal processes.
Expert Opinion“Asbestos doesn’t discriminate between the sexes. Mesothelioma claims the lives of 420 women in the UK every year but the asbestos related cause of the disease is often not clear and we need to understand more about why this is.
The GEM study aims to answer these gender related questions. There is a concern that fewer women are taking early medical and legal advice based on gender assumptions and perceptions of mesothelioma as an ‘old man’s disease’, contracted solely from industrial work, which is simply not the case.
International Woman’s Day is about taking action for equality. By raising awareness, we seek to promote early diagnosis so that women can have the same access to new treatments which can improve length and quality of life. We need to do all we can to change perceptions and remove any gender based barriers that may deny women the same opportunities as men.” Simone Hardy - Senior Associate Solicitor
Irwin Mitchell supports many women diagnosed with asbestos related cancers, all with a unique story to tell. Dr Mags Portman was just 44 when she passed away, leaving behind husband Martin and their two young children Edward and Freddie. Irwin Mitchell is representing Martin, who believes Mags was exposed to asbestos that claimed her life while working at Law Hospital in Lanarkshire.
In addition to this new generation of women encountering asbestos in the workplace, the law firm also advises the families of women who encountered asbestos in industrial settings.
Mary Lill, 68, from Sheffield died from mesothelioma on 27 June 2016, a year after a diagnosis. Daughter, Vicky Russon, works with the Irwin Mitchell Yorkshire asbestos-related disease team and never imagined that, one day, one of the victims the team represented would be her own mum.
Mary handled asbestos sheets on a daily basis, assisting in the manufacture of fire doors and Vicky recalled the terrible moment on 8 January 2015 when she and her brother accompanied mum to hospital: “The doctor told us it was bad news. He said it was mesothelioma. He explained it was a type of cancer caused by asbestos. He said it cannot be cured.
We could hardly take in what the doctor was saying. Mum was just not ready to die, she looked at Jason and I and that just made her more upset seeing our pain.”
Vicky said: “Working at Irwin Mitchell meant I could source the help mum needed, but my years of working with asbestos victims meant none of us were under any illusions about what a diagnosis of mesothelioma might mean.
Mum worked in a care home at the end of her career and loved helping others. If her story persuaded other women to seek early medical advice, I know she would be pleased with that.”