Posts Tagged ‘Britain’

Study examines mesothelioma risk in Britain

25 Mar 2009 by Wendi Lewis under News, Organizations, Research/Treatment

A new report prepared by the and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine examines the occupational, domestic and environmental mesothelioma risks in Britain. The findings are not good news.

The study was conducted for the Health and Safety Executive, an organization whose mission is to prevent death, injury and ill health in Great Britain’s workplaces. The HSE says this is the largest global study of its kind, including more than 600 patients with mesothelioma and 1,400 healthy people, interviewed to examine the rates of mesothelioma among different occupations in the UK.

Statistics resulting from the study include the following:

  • One in 17 British carpenters bornin the 1940s will die of mesothelioma
  • Plumbers, electricians and decorators born in the 1940s who worked in their trade for more than 10 years before they were 30 have a risk of 1 in 50 of dying of mesothelioma
  • The risk for other construction workers born in this generation is 1 in 125.
  • For every case of mesothelioma, asbestos also causes about 1 case of lung cancer; the risk of asbestos-related lung cancer for carpenters in this age group is 1 in 10.
  • In other industries, about two thirds of British men and one quarter of British women worked in jobs with potential asbestos exposure.
  • Among the general UK population, even those who did not experience occupational exposure still have a 1 in 1,000 risk of mesothelioma, indicating unrecognized environmental asbestos exposure, due to its widespread use in the 1960s and 1970s.

The report estimates there are more than 2,100 people diagnosed with mesothelioma in the UK every year, with about 5 times as many cases in men as in women.

Read the full report.


UK’s youngest meso victim passes away

2 Sep 2008 by Wendi Lewis under News, People

A young woman believed to be Britain’s youngest mesothelioma patient, at age 28, passed away last week, just two years after her diagnosis, according to a story in the Daily Mail. Leigh Carlisle, who grew up in Manchester, had peritoneal mesothelioma, affecting the lining of the abdomen.

Because of its long latency period – from 20 up to 50 years – mesothelioma usually occurs in older people, age 50 and older. For that reason, Carlisle’s mesothelioma eluded diagnosis early on, with doctors mistaking her symptoms for ailments such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), pelvic infection and endometriosis. Doctors were stunned when they diagnosed peritoneal mesothelioma.

Because of her young age, researchers believe Carlisle may have come in contact with asbestos – the only known cause of mesothelioma – in her school, or possibly from a factory yard near her childhood home, which she used as a shortcut on her way to school each day. Asbestos sheets were cut at the yard.

According to the report, about 2,000 people in Britain die from mesothelioma each year, a figure that has doubled since 1992. The paper reports that 90,000 people in the UK will die from the disease, and another 90,000 from other asbestos-related lung diseases.

Additionally, the report says about 200 school workers have died or are suffering from illnesses related to asbestos exposure in schools in Britain, where it is estimated that about 13,000 schools still contain asbestos.

Following her diagnosis, Carlisle worked for mesothelioma and asbestos awareness. Her family requests that donations in her memory be made to the Oldham Cancer Support Centre in Failsworth:

Oldham Cancer Support Centre
Failsworth Primary Care Centre
Ashton Road West
Failsworth
M35 0AD
Tel: 0161 906 2940


jazz CD a tribute to artist affected by meso

15 Aug 2008 by Wendi Lewis under Events, News, People

keithshadwick1 jazz CD a tribute to artist affected by mesoLast week, I mentioned that I’d come across an interesting story about a jazz musician and noted writer in Britain, who released a recording of his work begun in 1973. Keith Shadwick was a professional musician in Australia at the time, and he, along with drummer Gary Norwell, had formed a band called Sun, with a few other musicians. The group released one album, but then broke up. Keith and Gary recorded several jazz tracks before going their separate ways, and Keith revived the project off and on, in the mid 1980s and again in 2005 when he was diagnosed with mesothelioma.

A British record label, Candid Records, agreed to release the CD, and Keith recruited a number of musicians to fill in the gaps on the tracks to finally see the project through. The CD was called Free Time, a name initally selected because the original tracks recorded in 1973-74 were done during a recording studio’s down time, when a friend who worked there was able to lend Keith and Gary the space. But the liner notes, penned by Keith to tell the story of how the recording came together, tend to more solemn reflection.

“Then suddenly completion is in front of you and there is no free time anymore,” he writes, and it’s easy to see the dual implication of a completed project and a completed life.

Keith passed away just as the CD was pressed, and it is unlikely he saw it in its final form.

The special edition release of Free Time is available only through the Candid Records web site, and is shipped from the UK. Cost is £9.99 plus shipping, which totals around $24 U.S. once you figure in the exchange rate. But all proceeds from the sales will go to Bart’s Mesothelioma Research, an organization in Britain dedicated to the treatment of mesothelioma.

I received my CD yesterday. Full of free-spirited modern jazz tunes highlighting Keith on saxophone, the CD is joyful and jamming and sometimes poignant. It is perhaps hardest to comprehend when mesothelioma steals the breath of those who create music, before it steals their life.


Mesothelioma could kill 10% of Aussie carpenters

23 Apr 2008 by Wendi Lewis under News

A new study is predicting 10 percent of Australian carpenters born before 1950 will die of mesothelioma.

The Australian study, conducted by cancer research specialist Professor Julian Peto, was based on research into the lifetime occupations of 600 mesothelioma patients. Its findings were reported by the web site news.theage.com.au yesterday.

Peto predicts 30,000 Australians will die from mesothelioma between 2000 and 2050. He says the cause is exposure to both crocidolite asbestos (blue asbestos) and amosite (brown asbestos), which was used in building products in Australia and Britain until the 1980s.

According to the story on theage.com.au, Peto’s research reveals that Australia and the UK currently have the highest rates of mesothelioma in the world, with an estimated 600 cases per year in Australia and 2,000 in Britain, with numbers still rising.

Because I write this blog in the United States, I don’t talk as much about the looming global disaster asbestos poses. But it’s frightening, and it’s sickening, to see the effects of asbestos exposure just surfacing in communities around the world. I am afraid the coming suffering is unimaginable.


Who Cares About Us?

22 Feb 2008 by Wendi Lewis under News, People

As I’ve been researching the topic of Mesothelioma and asbestos-related cancer and disease for this blog, I’ve been really disturbed by something.

Searches, news alerts, links – they invariably take me to stories written by the British media and posted to UK web sites and publications. The Press Association, the BBC, WebWire – just TODAY they had three stories about asbestos-related disease.

Stories urged workers likely to come in contact with asbestos to use precautions, wear protective clothing including filtered breathing units. Britain is having Mesothelioma Awareness Day Feb. 27.

Where is our news? Where is our information? The only time anyone in America has ever heard of Mesothelioma is when a loved one is shocked by a diagnosis.

Oh, and there is another time people hear about it. On commercials for law firms, which can tend to generate skepticism, scoffing, a sense that someone is trying to gain from someone else’s misfortune. Is that the truth?

The web site Asbestos.com recently talked to a professor of ethics at Washington University School of Law, Peter Joy. He said that asbestos lawsuits have, in fact, sparked many criticisms of the legal profession, and questions about the ethics of soliciting for clients.

But, he said, those who have suffered because of asbestos exposure have a different view of the situation. For many, faced with mounting medical costs, the right to bring suit against the companies responsible for their illness is their only recourse.

But shouldn’t they have known the danger their job might be posing? some ask.

Joy says no. He points out that the asbestos industry and others who knew and understood the dangers of asbestos to their workers and to the public showed complete callous disregard for general safety.

The Mesothelioma Information and Resource Group estimates that the connection between asbestos exposure and lung cancer was noted as early as 1925, and confirmed over the next 70 years. But, Joy says, the industry buried information about the dangers and hazards in the interest of maintaining higher profits.

Remember that the incubation period of Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related cancers is a long one, remaining latent in those exposed for 30 to 40 years. By the time the dangers of asbestos were told to the public, it was too late for many people.

Even now, asbestos is still not even completely banned in the U.S.

Asbestos litigators, Joy points out, have actually been responsible for raising public awareness about asbestos and mesothelioma. The result is that people have more information, and they are alert to their risk level. They seek early screening, which may save their life.

We certainly don’t see these stories in our media. Maybe a blip here, or a brief story here, then it’s gone again. People in the U.S. assume asbestos is yesterday’s worry. Surely that was years ago, right? That was fixed, wasn’t it?

Who else is going to help asbestos disease sufferers beat this drum, when the still-real danger has been so effectively swept under the rug?

Joy summarizes that it’s hard to fault methods and measures that bring about awareness, and help people in desperate need find a little bit of justice, whatever cold comfort that might bring.