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Action Mesothelioma Day 2019 takes place on 5 July

Estimated read time: 4 mins

Carrie Tennick, July 04, 2019

Action Mesothelioma Day is taking place on 5 July to raise awareness of the disease.

Caused by inhaling asbestos fibres, mesothelioma is a deadly and incurable cancer. The majority of cases are caused by working in an environment exposed to asbestos.

Action Mesothelioma Day will see a number of events taking place, including public meetings, ‘meet the experts’ sessions and dove and butterfly releases to honour those who have passed away and are suffering from the disease now.

Who does mesothelioma affect?

Mesothelioma is considered an industrial disease because of the way people have typically been exposed to asbestos through work. It is more common in men than women.

Construction workers are at particular risk of developing mesothelioma as they were the people installing it into buildings, as well as removing it in many circumstances.

Since asbestos has had to be mined, it follows that miners would also be exposed to the fibres. They therefore make up a large number of mesothelioma sufferers. As asbestos fibres can be transferred to clothing, there have been cases of miners’ family members – and even those simply living near mines – developing mesothelioma. The risk associated with asbestos mining is so severe that an entire Australian town had to be declared contaminated and shut down after mining the mineral.

Also at risk are those professions that have carried out building work or anything involved in the production process of asbestos. This includes industrial and factory workers, firefighters, textile workers, ship builders and those working on ships containing asbestos – often members of the military.

Although asbestos has been banned since 1985, it remains in many buildings across the country. Indeed, the BBC has found that nine out of 10 NHS trusts reported their hospitals still contain asbestos. This means that they still pose a risk to many workers today.

How does mesothelioma develop?

Typically, the disease begins in the lungs – known as pleural mesothelioma – but it can also start in the abdomen – known as peritoneal mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma is more common than peritoneal, with approximately 12 cases of the former to every one case of the latter.

Mesothelial cells cover the outer layer of most internal organs. After prolonged exposure to asbestos – which lodges itself in the lining of the lungs or abdomen – these cells begin to mutate and become cancerous.

In cases of pleural mesothelioma, the cancer can spread to the heart.

According to Mesothelioma UK, roughly 2,500 people are diagnosed with the disease every year in the UK.

Symptoms of mesothelioma

Symptoms of mesothelioma can take between 20 and 50 years to develop, meaning that you might not realise you have been affected. Symptoms generally don’t appear until the cancer has grown and spread.

According to the NHS, symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • A high temperature or fever and sweating, particularly at night
  • A persistent cough
  • Loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss
  • Swollen fingertips

The most common symptoms of pleural mesothelioma to appear first are shortness of breath, coughing and chest pain. They tend to appear when mesothelioma has reached stage 3 or stage 4, when the tumours have begun to press against nerves, organs and other parts of the body.

Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Feeling or being sick
  • Loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss
  • Diarrhoea or constipation

Since sufferers of mesothelioma don’t develop symptoms until the disease has progressed significantly, it is difficult to diagnose it in the early stages.

What to do if you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma

If you have noticed any of these symptoms and have a history of exposure to asbestos, ensure you inform your clinician about it. This can help you obtain an earlier diagnosis, which can give you a better chance of receiving life-extending treatment.

You will also likely be able to make a claim for mesothelioma compensation if you have been diagnosed with this cancer. First4Lawyers can help you by connecting you with an expert solicitor, who will handle the legal aspects.

Any compensation you receive can help secure your finances, which can improve your quality of life. It can help finance any specialist private medical treatment and ongoing care needs, as well as cover any loss of earnings that you may experience after taking time off or giving up work.

All you have to do is give us a call, request a call back at the top of your screen or simply start your claim here. We can discuss your situation and help you work out the best option for you and your family.