Mesothelioma sufferers and their families may be interested to hear the latest positive news from new Cancer Research UK figures, which found that half of patients diagnosed with some cancers can now expect to survive for at least another ten years.

The contrast with those victims of the fatal incurable, mesothelioma cancer whose life expectancy is, on average 4 – 12 months, is clear indeed. The new survey – based on research into the treatment outcomes of more than 7 million patients – also found that just one per cent of those diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and five per cent with lung cancer could expect to live another ten years.

However, a comparative analysis shows life expectancy rates have improved by nearly 25 per cent over four decades. While a half of those diagnosed with cancer died within 12 months in 1971-2, it is now possible for the same fifty per cent to now survive for ten years or more. Cancer Research UK said it wants to see at least three quarters of cancer patients surviving at least ten years and stresses the importance of increasing investment into research.

Long standing search to find a cure

The crucial need for increasing research funding underpins the long standing search to find a cure for mesothelioma and improving other asbestosis treatments. One recent study group of mesothelioma patients where the cancer was discovered at an earlier stage, and who underwent radiotherapy and chemotherapy, survived thirty days after surgery. Twenty two of the thirty six patients continued to live for at least 2 years. However, despite continuing efforts by medical researchers, the UK national survival rate still remains less than 12 months.

The undoubted need to continue adequate investment into mesothelioma research appeared to suffer a setback when the “sustainable future funding” element of the recently passed Mesothelioma Bill was entirely omitted, seen as a “deal” done with insurers to hasten the Bill through Parliament.

Political, legal and medical professionals joined mesothelioma sufferers and the many support organisations and asbestos awareness groups in expressing their anger and concern at the overall final terms agreed for the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (DMPS) due to begin in July 2014. The British Lung Foundation (BLF) claim that the £350 million agreed with the insurance industry to run DMPS will not be at all adequate and state that the real figure needed is more than £11 billion.

Insurers should increase their current investment

In addition the BLF suggest that insurers should increase their current investment into mesothelioma research, which would actually help to reduce compensation payouts and, significantly, could also “serve as a model for supporting other areas of research.”

In 2010, the Health and Safety Executive recorded 2,347 deaths from mesothelioma and an estimated further 2,000 asbestos related lung cancer deaths. The forecast is for around 28,500 deaths from asbestos exposure over the next ten years, which clearly indicates the urgent need to properly address research funding and help extend the lives of mesothelioma cancer victims.