Mesothelioma Awareness Day, which takes place on September 26th every year, aims to raise awareness and funding for people suffering with mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a cancer which is almost always caused by asbestos.
Whilst many people believe that asbestos is ‘a thing of the past,’ the number of people suffering from asbestos diseases, both in the UK and around the world, is still increasing.
Of all asbestos diseases, mesothelioma is considered to be the worst because it is an incurable cancer. On average, people diagnosed with mesothelioma live for around 18 months or less, and often have limited treatment options.
To bring more attention and funding to mesothelioma cancer, the Meso Foundation started Mesothelioma Awareness Day in 2004. Over the years, the Foundation has been very successful in raising money and awareness.
To support their efforts, in this article, we discuss mesothelioma and the impact it has had on people in the UK.
- In the UK alone, the number of people dying from mesothelioma has increased by 887% since the early 1970s.
- In 2016, 2,496 people in the UK died of mesothelioma.
- Mesothelioma is much more common in men than women in the UK – in 2016, 84% of people who died from mesothelioma were men.
- Cancer Research UK state that 94% of all mesothelioma cases in the UK are completely preventable.
- Being diagnosed with mesothelioma under the age of 45 is very rare.
What is mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a serious form of cancer which develops in the lining covering some of the body’s organs. It mainly effects the lining of the lungs (pleural mesothelioma), but can also effect the lining of the stomach (peritoneal mesothelioma), heart, or testicles. You can learn more about types of mesothelioma by clicking here.
Most people who are diagnosed with mesothelioma are between 60 and 80 years old.
What causes mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is almost always caused by being exposed to the fibrous mineral, asbestos. Asbestos was used widely in industry, shipbuilding and construction following WWII. The material was marketed as a “wonder material” as it is extremely resistant to heat, electricity, and fire.
Until 2000, asbestos was used widely in construction and other jobs, and many thousands of workers were exposed in their daily working lives. The use of asbestos in the UK was completely banned in 1999 with reserves being used up by approximately 2000.
Despite this, asbestos is still found in many buildings and appliances made before 2000. Some estimates even suggest that asbestos is still present in 90% of school buildings in the UK.
Importantly, asbestos is only dangerous when it is disturbed. This is because the tiny fibres may break away and become breathable or ingestible. When inhaled, the fibres can become lodged in your lungs. Over time, the trapped fibres cause serious damage to your lungs and this can develop into cancer.
Mesothelioma typically develops around 10 to 50 years following exposure. This is why the majority of people who develop mesothelioma receive news of their devastating diagnosis between the ages of 60 and 80.
Despite this, recently we have documented several cases of people developing mesothelioma in their twenties and thirties. We have even recovered compensation for a mesothelioma patient who sadly passed away from the disease at the very young age of 22.
We are also currently helping a client who was sadly diagnosed with mesothelioma at the young age of 37.
Support for people with mesothelioma
There are many sources of support for people who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. For example:
We are proud to be regular supporters of Macmillan Cancer Support. We have donated over £35,000 to the charity to assist Macmillan in providing vital support to mesothelioma patients.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma you may be able to claim compensation. We are specialists in mesothelioma claims and have helped hundreds of people successfully claim compensation.
We help you to get the amount that you deserve at no charge to yourself, and bring claims against the company responsible for your asbestos exposure.
You can contact us today for free on 0800 038 6767, or use the livechat button below.