It has been suggested that there have been three phases of development to asbestos exposure which continues its fatal legacy to this day and predicted to claim lives for many years to come.
In the first phase, the appearance of asbestosis symptoms leading ultimately, to death for thousands of asbestos production workers, came as a result of uninterrupted daily, heavy asbestos exposure on an industrial scale.
The second phase saw the consequences of exposure from asbestos products in the workplace.
The present third phase is considered a more subtle, covert danger and infinitely more problematic, i.e. the persistent exposure to significant amounts of asbestos fibres, which can be inhaled from the fabric of buildings and within the soil of sites once linked to heavy industrial asbestos use.
Notwithstanding, the many hurdles encountered in the pursuance of mesothelioma compensation, down through the years, mesothelioma treatment itself, has faced many obstacles. As recently as 2003, a UK medical study reported:
• Most patients never saw a specialist doctor or sought asbestosis advice.
• Patients were frequently told: “there’s nothing we can do for you”.
• Few patients were offered chemotherapy even though new procedures had been effective at relieving symptoms and prolonging life.
• Although surgery to remove an affected lung could sometimes prolong life and improve the quality of life, there were only ten thoracic surgeons in the UK who could perform this operation. The operations were further hindered by a lack of NHS surgical beds, operating time, equipment and nurses.
• There was little funding for mesothelioma research in the UK.
Two years later, in 2005, a mesothelioma conference of concerned groups discussed with medical experts, civil servants and politicians how improvements could be made, resulting in the following call to immediately implement:
• A Mesothelioma Charter, featuring recommendations for the care and well-being of mesothelioma patients.
• An annual “Action Mesothelioma Day” to be held on the first Friday in July, will stage events to raise public awareness of mesothelioma. Balloon releases, church services, information sessions and conferences will be organised across the country.
Action Mesothelioma Day 2010, is scheduled for Friday 2nd July.