Mesothelioma now killing more women

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Mesothelioma now killing more women

10th November 2010

An industrial disease specialist at Fentons Solicitors LLP has expressed alarm over the recently reported increase in the number of women dying from mesothelioma.

Bridget Collier, a partner with the firm, said: "The latest official figures show that mesothelioma - a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos - is the most rapidly increasing cancer in women, the majority of whom have no idea where or how they were exposed to asbestos."

Asbestos-related cancer specialists are baffled by the sudden increase and have called for more research into "low-level" asbestos exposure.

As symptoms are only now becoming apparent some 40 years after the victim's initial asbestos exposure, many experts attribute the alarming rise to the widespread use of asbestos in schools built in the 1960s and 1970s. This has led to teaching unions now calling for an audit of all public buildings, including schools, so asbestos can be identified and removed.

"Further research into determining the risks associated with low-level exposure to asbestos is urgently needed," said Bridget. "The steady increase in asbestos-related cancer in men has been known for some time. These latest figures however suggest the ratio has now changed, which can only mean patterns of exposure have changed too."

Mesothelioma, like other asbestos-related cancers, is normally associated with people who have a history of working with the deadly material. Lung surgeons operating on the current spate of victims report that many of their patients had never previously worked within industries commonly associated with asbestos exposure.

"Although obviously not conclusive," said Bridget, "this could suggest many of the current mesothelioma cases could be attributed to low-level exposure caused for instance by contact with asbestos found in school walls and ceiling panels."

The latest Health and Safety Executive (HSE) figures show that mesothelioma was cited as the cause of death for 384 women in 2008, compared with 1,865 men. In 2007, 347 women succumbed to the disease compared to 1,826 men and in 2005, 289 women died, compared to 1,759 men.

Mesothelioma currently kills around 2,000 people each year and now has the highest growth rate, at 57%, out of all cancers suffered by women. One person succumbs to the disease every five hours in the UK alone, the highest incidence of mesothelioma in the world. The death rate in Britain continues to rise and is not expected to peak until 2015.

In light of these disturbing new figures, judges of the Supreme Court are expected to deliver a judgement on the legal limit for low-level asbestos exposure before Christmas, in a legal test case that could affect thousands of sufferers.

How can Fentons help?
Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of industrial diseases including asbestos-related lung cancer and mesothelioma.

If you think that you have a case or require further information contact Fentons on 0800 0191 297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.

Source - Mirror