Mesothelioma symptoms and life expectancy

Experts have raised fears that Britain is set to see an increase in the number of mesothelioma sufferers. They warn that more people in the UK die of mesothelioma than in any other country in the world, with an estimated toll of around 2,500 deaths per year.

In the vast majority of mesothelioma cases, the cause is exposure to asbestos, a fibre building material that was commonly used in industries such as building, plumbing, electrics, ship building and carpentry. It was also used in gas masks and as an integral part of the fireproof clothing often worn by firemen. The most dangerous types of asbestos were first banned in the 1960s. However, a full ban on the use of asbestos was not implemented until 1999.

Despite most types of asbestos having been illegal for years, the reason the mesothelioma death toll has risen five-fold from around 500 deaths a year in 1980 to today’s 2,500 figure is that the disease normally takes decades to develop (between 20–60 years after the initial exposure to asbestos). Tragically, 50 per cent of mesothelioma sufferers are dead eight months after diagnosis. The disease is always fatal. Men are believed to be five times more likely to be diagnosed with mesothelioma than women…

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