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Action Mesothelioma Day to campaign on behalf of sufferers

Action Mesothelioma Day



The British Lung Foundation, supported by national law firm, Irwin Mitchell, will launch Action Mesothelioma Day on 27th February 2006, to campaign for better care and treatment, improved protection for employees and more funding for research.

Mesothelioma is a form of lung cancer usually caused by inhaling asbestos fibres. This year alone, 2,000 people in Britain - on average one person every five hours - will die from this fatal disease for which there is no cure. This figure is growing every year and is not set to peak until at least 2015.

About Action Mesothelioma Day

On Monday 27th February, the British Lung Foundation will be presenting a petition, named the Action Mesothelioma Charter, to 10 Downing Street, calling on the Government to establish better care and treatment for mesothelioma sufferers, better protection for employees to prevent future exposure to asbestos and more funding for mesothelioma cancer research.

Irwin Mitchell solicitors are supporting the British Lung Foundation with a substantial donation to the campaign, which seeks to raise public awareness of this devastating illness.

Mesothelioma solicitor Adrian Budgen from the Sheffield office of Irwin Mitchell said: Over the past 20 years, we have represented hundreds of mesothelioma sufferers and their families. Sadly, the number of asbestos-related mesothelioma cases is on the increase.

Unlike other forms of cancer, medical experts believe that the incidence of mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer cases will rise still further. Particularly shocking, however, is that mesothelioma, once thought to be an old persons disease, is now increasingly claiming younger victims and in a wider range of occupations.

Governments and employers have known asbestos can cause cancer for many decades and yet they continued to expose generations of men and women to this fatal substance. Asbestos use should have been controlled more stringently to prevent the devastation that it is now causing in this country and which it will continue to cause if its use is not abolished throughout the world.


Mesothelioma - the facts:

  • In around 95% of cases, mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos dust.
  • Mesothelioma is a particularly aggressive form of cancer and results in death, usually within 18 months of diagnosis. There is currently no cure.
  • There are two forms of mesothelioma “ pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma. In pleural mesothelioma, the more common form of the disease, asbestos fibres become embedded in the lining or pleura of the lungs, which either become progressively thickened or causes fluid to accumulate in the chest cavity, causing extreme pain. In peritoneal mesothelioma, the abdomen walls or peritonea are similarly affected.
  • Asbestos, a heat resistant substance, was commonly used in the building trade and as a lagging for pipes during the 1950s through to the 1980s. People working in the building trade and those working with boilers/generators and in central heating/lagging at that time often have had exposure to clouds of dust when asbestos was drilled or cut up.
  • Many victims were unaware at the time that they had been exposed to the lethal fibres and because the period between exposure to asbestos and developing mesothelioma can be between 20 and 40 years, it is often difficult to prove where exposure took place.
  • Amongst those whose lives the disease has claimed is Hollywood legend, Steve McQueen, who died in 1980, aged 50, from malignant peritoneal mesothelioma. It is believed that McQueen contracted the disease after being exposed to asbestos fibres whilst working on ship repairs during his youth.
  • Mesothelioma was once termed an old persons disease as the long time-span between exposure and onset of symptoms meant many sufferers were not diagnosed until in their 60s or 70s. However, the incidence of younger people who have been diagnosed with the disease has recently risen sharply.
  • In April 2005 32-year-old Barry Welch a married man and father of three young daughters, from Leicester, died from mesothelioma. He is believed to be the UKs youngest victim to date.

Have you got a claim? If we can help you or someone you know with a similar case, please visit our Asbestos Related Diseases section.