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Carshalton and Wallington MP takes Action against Mesothelioma

March 5, 2008 5:26 PM
Tom Brake Signs EDM

Tom Brake Joins Campaign

Carshalton and Wallington MP, Tom Brake, joined the British Lung Foundation and others at the House of Commons on Wednesday 27th February to raise awareness of the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma and to support the BLF's campaign to ensure everyone in the UK is 'asbestos aware'.

To mark Action Mesothelioma Day the British Lung Foundation is monitoring the progress of the Mesothelioma Framework, an NHS action plan for people with the disease. The charity carried out a survey of cancer networks in England and presented its findings to the National Cancer Director Professor Mike Richards at Wednesday's reception at Westminster.

Tom signed an Early Day Motion calling for greater efforts to be made to improve treatment and care for people with mesothelioma after the survey showed that time and resources were proving major barriers to the full implementation of the Mesothelioma Framework.

Mesothelioma kills one person every five hours in the UK and there is as yet no cure. It takes between 15 and 60 years after exposure to asbestos for the symptoms of mesothelioma to become apparent and the UK will face an epidemic of the cancer in 2011 - 2015 as people exposed to asbestos in the 1960s and 1970s are diagnosed with the disease. Recent cases show that tradespeople such as builders, plumbers, gas fitters and electricians are now most at risk of developing mesothelioma.

Just 12% of tradespeople are aware that exposure to asbestos can be fatal and less than a third know it can cause cancer, according to a new survey published by the British Lung Foundation ahead of Action Mesothelioma Day. Worryingly, three quarters of tradespeople (74%) have never had any training in how to deal with asbestos even though the Health and Safety Executive warns that any building built or refurbished before 2000 could contain asbestos.

The House of Commons event was attended by representatives from the British Lung Foundation, Mesothelioma UK and the Mick Knighton Mesothelioma Research Fund.

Tom Brake MP said: "I am delighted to be supporting the British Lung Foundation's Action Mesothelioma Campaign, as it is helping to bring about real improvements for people with this cruel disease and continues to work for more research into the disease and more awareness about the dangers of asbestos. The British Lung Foundation's survey shows that there is a dangerously low level of awareness about the dangers of asbestos amongst the very people who are most at risk of mesothelioma."

Dame Helena Shovelton, Chief Executive of the British Lung Foundation said: "We are very pleased that Tom Brake MP is continuing to support the Action Mesothelioma Campaign. Much has been achieved in the past year but there is a long way to go. We need more research into this deadly cancer, better treatments to give sufferers more hope, and more awareness amongst tradespeople of the continuing dangers of contact with asbestos."

Anyone who wants more information about the British Lung Foundation, or Action Mesothelioma should visit www.lunguk.org or call the BLF Helpline on 08458 50 50 20.

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