Were you exposed to asbestos at work?
EACH year, more than 43,000 people are
diagnosed with lung cancer in the UK. Deadly asbestos dust causes 2,000 of the recorded cases, estimates the Health and Safety Executive. But legal experts believe the number of asbestosrelated lung cancers is far higher.
They are calling on sufferers and health professionals to consider carefully whether asbestos is a potential cause, so that they do not miss out on the substantial support that might be available. Smoking cigarettes is, of course, the largest cause of lung cancer. However, smokers who have also been exposed to high amounts of asbestos dust are at far greater risk.
For many tradesmen, manual workers and engineers, asbestos exposure in the workplace will have been inevitable during the past 60 years. Those who have worked as laggers, electricians, dockers, engineers, joiners, plumbers, welders, builders, fitters and heating engineers, or in any premises where asbestos was widely used (for example, power stations, shipyards and railways), are likely to have come into contact with it.
A lung cancer patient should make their doctor aware of any exposure to asbestos in the past.
The World Health Organisation says that 107,000 people die every year as a result of occupational exposure to asbestos. It is implicated in many crippling lung diseases, such as mesothelioma, pleural thickening, pulmonary fibrosis and asbestosis, as well as lung cancer.