According to the UK Daily Mail, the number of cases of a cancer affecting workers exposed to asbestos before the 1980s has yet to reach its peak, senior doctors have warned.
Mesothelioma – a malignant tumor of the lung lining – now kills more than 1,800 people in the UK each year. But doctors, writing in the British Medical Journal, said a peak in the epidemic was not likely to happen until 2015 at the earliest. They noted that the time between first exposure to asbestos, from sources like insulation and building materials, and people falling victim to the disease was “rarely less than 25 years and often more than 50 years”.
According to the article, this means that thousands exposed to asbestos before regulations were tightened in the early 1980s are likely to be struck down in the future, creating a potential timebomb in the disease. The doctors, including Prof Tom Treasure of Guy’s Hospital in London, wrote: “The peak of the epidemic is expected in 2015 to 2020 when the death rate is likely to be 2,000 per year in the UK.
“Many countries are seeing the rising tide of an epidemic, and all doctors need to know how to recognise and diagnose this disease and what treatments are available.”
Radical surgery can be used to treat mesothelioma, described by the doctors as “a horrible disease”, but they said trials were needed to give people more confidence in their treatment. The doctors said there was nothing to be done now to prevent the disease in people exposed during the 1950s, 60s and 70s.
Asbestos exposure has been shown to cause malignant mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis and a variety of other cancers. If you or a friend has been diagnosed with asbestosis, lung cancer or mesothelioma, please call us at 1(800)995-6991 for a free consultation.