Latest figures from Cancer Research UK show that, while men account for most cases of mesothelioma, cases among women have risen by 93 per cent between 1993 and 2018 (compared with 47 per cent in men).

‘The proportion of women being diagnosed with mesothelioma has never been higher,’ says Dean Fennell, a professor of thoracic medical oncology at the University of Leicester. ‘Given the disease can take decades to develop, this rise seems to coincide with when more women joined the workforce from the 1950s onwards.’

Approximately 2,700 people in the UK are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year. Asbestos, a flame retardant material widely used in the construction industry in the UK is the main cause. Breathing in asbestos fibres can damage the lungs and their lining (the mesothelium) although it can take many years to cause symptoms such as breathlessness, coughing and chest pain.

There are six million tonnes of asbestos in 1.5 million UK buildings, including workplaces, public buildings (too include schools) and residential homes, according to research published in 2019 by the think tank ResPublica.

The Health and Safety Executive says it is potentially in any industrial or residential building built or refurbished before 2000.

NICE [the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence] has recently approved the first new treatment in over ten years for patients to access on the NHS who have been diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma. The treatment is called immunotherapy and is a combination of two drugs: nivolumab and ipilimumab. Whilst not a cure it can extend life.

Please contact our experienced Asbestos Team on 0191 232 3048 if you, or a member of your family, have been diagnosed with Mesothelioma, Pleural Thickening, Asbestosis or Asbestos Related Lung Cancer within the last 3 years.

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