While it’s a rare form of cancer, mesothelioma remains a public health concern due to its strong association with asbestos exposure. It’s important to keep up to date with the latest developments regarding mesothelioma, from understanding the disease to the most recent statistics so that property owners and duty holders can continue to manage asbestos risks effectively.
Here’s everything you need to know.
What is mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is an aggressive, incurable cancer that often affects the mesothelial cells in the lining of the lungs. It’s most commonly associated with asbestos exposure, as inhaling asbestos fibres can lead to the development of the disease over time.
The time between exposure to asbestos and mesothelioma diagnosis can be decades, making it a particularly challenging cancer to catch and treat effectively. Cancer Research UK states the survival rate for mesothelioma over 10 years is only 2%.
Is mesothelioma linked to asbestos exposure?
Mesothelioma is heavily linked to asbestos exposure. When asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) are disturbed or deteriorate, tiny asbestos fibres can become airborne. When inhaled, they may get lodged in the mesothelial lining of different organs, leading to the development of mesothelioma.
While asbestos is now heavily regulated and restricted in the UK, cases of mesothelioma continue to emerge due to past exposures, as the disease has a long latency period. This stresses the need for careful asbestos management and exposure prevention within buildings and properties where ACMs remain in situ.
What are the latest mesothelioma statistics in Great Britain?
The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) has recently released new mesothelioma statistics for Great Britain in 2023. Annual deaths from the disease have risen steeply over the last 50 years, often attributed to past occupational asbestos exposures. However, earlier predictions of annual deaths gradually falling during the 2020s have so far proved true.
In 2021, there were 2,268 mesothelioma deaths in Britain, and 1,867 of these were men, with those at risk being those who used to work in the building industry when asbestos was extensively used.
How can we continue to manage asbestos risks?
The risks of exposure and mesothelioma risks emphasise the importance of asbestos and worker rights. Luckily, the UK now has strict regulations in place to control asbestos risks, but compliance is essential, holding those responsible for asbestos exposure accountable.
Asbestos awareness and education are key to ensuring staff, contractors and the general public understand asbestos risks, its proper handling and how protective measures prevent exposure.
Building owners and managers should conduct regular asbestos surveys and routine inspections to identify and manage ACMs. Safe removals or asbestos encapsulation can also be carried out by licensed professionals where necessary.
For asbestos management advice and surveys, call us today
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For a free quote on any of our asbestos services, contact us.