What is mesothelioma? Raising awareness for asbestos-related cancer

Written by on 9th March 2023

What is mesothelioma? It’s a certain type of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, a carcinogenic mineral that was used widely in construction.

Use of asbestos was scrapped in the UK in 1999 after blue and brown asbestos was banned from construction use in 1985 and has not been used since.

Charity worker Kerry, who works for Sunderland based cancer charity Fact, said: “We had a mesothelioma group. However, due to Covid-19 regulations we had to stop it”.

Fact host a multitude of services for those battling cancer. When asked what services they provide, Kerry said: “we cover the whole of the North East, from Cumbria to Northumberland and we don’t say no to anybody. We work alongside the hospitals and take referrals from anybody”.

Fact have a website that can be found here. People can refer themselves for help and also refer others.

Asbestos related deaths are at about 5000 per year, and between 2017-2019, 2394 people died of mesothelioma. It can take time for the symptoms to start appearing, and it can sometimes be too late for treatment to make an impact, with most of the care goes into prolonging life.

Unfortunately, Cancer Research’s projections estimate that there will be an additional 2,400 cases of mesothelioma every year by 2038-2040.

However, a positive to take away is that since asbestos is no longer being used in construction, asbestos related deaths and deaths due to mesothelioma are decreasing, with cancer research estimating that deaths are due to go down by 27% between 2023 and 2025.

Asbestos when in homes can be found in loose-fill insulation, AIB (asbestos insulating board) floor tiles, AIB ceiling tiles and AIB bath tiles.

It is reported that there are 1.5 million homes in the UK that have asbestos. Homes built during the 60s and 70s should be tested for asbestos, and there are plenty of companies that sell asbestos testing kits. If your house does have asbestos, it is recommended to get rid of it as soon as possible.

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