150 die from mesothelioma in Wales


The rate of mesothelioma diagnoses and deaths in the Cardiff area has been disproportionately high for 3 decades, according to the Office of National Statistics.

MesotheliomaBetween 1981 and 2005, 158 people died from mesothelioma in Newport, Caerphilly, Torfaen, Monmouthshire and Blaenau Gwent.

Mesothelioma, which is caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibres, affects the lining (pleura) of the lungs, with pleural mesothelioma its most common form. Mesothelioma can also affect the abdominal cavity and the lining of the heart.

Mesothelioma is normally fatal, although often over indeterminate periods. Whilst decades can pass before mesothelioma is identified, some people exposed to asbestos can begin seeing symptoms in as little as 10 years. The disease is usually treated by surgery, chemotherapy or radiation, or in combination.

Until around 2000, products containing asbestos were used in the construction of many buildings in Gwent, from commercial and industrial complexes to private homes. It is estimated that asbestos is present in nearly 500,000 UK premises.

More people suffer from mesothelioma and asbestos-related diseases in the UK than almost anywhere else in the world. Given how frequently asbestos was used in building materials until comparatively recently, the persistence of mesothelioma is unsurprising, despite ever-tougher legal regulations governing its removal and disposal.

For those who have symptoms of mesothelioma, there are ways in which compensation claims can be made. However, prevention is always better than a cure whose benefits are still uncertain. If someone is working in or around an area in which asbestos might be present, it is crucially important that good-quality protective clothing is worn, and a face mask that will prevent the inhalation of asbestos fibres.

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