Britain is currently facing an epidemic of asbestos-related illness. Unfortunately there is very little research going on into Mesothelioma in the UK.

In the United Kingdom almost 2000 people a year are diagnosed with Mesothelioma. It is also known as ‘diffuse’ or ‘malignant’ Mesothelioma. It is a form of cancer that affects the Mesothelium, which is a thin membrane that lines the inner surface of the chest wall where it is known as the pleura, and abdomen, where it is known as the peritoneum. It also surrounds the organs found within these cavities for example the heart, lung and intestines. It is far more common to have Mesothelioma in the chest than in the abdomen, there is approximately 1 case of peritoneal Mesothelioma to every 12 cases of pleural Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses such as lung cancer and pleural plaques are increasing in incidence even though asbestos was little used after 1980. The problem is that there is a delay of between 30 and 50 years from the exposure to asbestos dust and the development of one of the diseases.

Mesothelioma is cancer of the lung pleura or the abdominal peritoneum. The cancer arises in the membranous coverings of the lungs or bowels. Eventually the membrane becomes thickened and rubbery. Problems with breathlessness, chest pain and cough occur in many patients, though modern treatments can be very effective at abolishing these symptoms. Other symptoms that we see include weight loss, low energy levels and night-time sweating. Surgery to remove the cancer can be done in a few patients but most patients are treated with chemotherapy, radiotherapy and supportive treatments such as painkillers and appetite-boosting tablets. No patient is identical to another and all patients are treated as individuals.
Research is critical. It is imperative that we learn more about Mesothelioma so that we can help current patients and patients in the future. What we learn about Mesothelioma will help us understand other types of cancer such as breast, bowel and conventional lung cancer.

Only two people in the whole world have fully recovered from Mesothelioma - both had surgery. One of the survivors was operated on at a clinic in Boston, Massachusetts, where work on Mesothelioma is being pioneered.



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Julie MacDougall
Scott Brady
(Family friend & colleague)
Kirsty McCulloch
(Colleague and friend)
Sir Menzies Campbell M.P.
Lindsay Roy M.P.


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