22 February 2007
Deaths from asbestos cancer yet to peak
Nearly 200,000 people may yet contract asbestos-related cancers, according to a survey from Cancer Research.
Taking into account that asbestos use was only limited in the 1970s and the 40 year gestation period of some of the cancers, the survey predicts that the number of cases annually will not decline until 2015.
The survey also confirmed findings that family members who were exposed indirectly to the chemical through spouses and parents who worked with asbestos are also at risk
Exposure to asbestos can cause lung cancer as well as a strain of the disease called mesothelioma that afflicts the linings of the lungs.
Commenting on the survey, Professor Julian Peto, who is Cancer Research chair of epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said: "Mesothelioma is on a completely different scale from any other industrial cancer disease in the world."
"Mesothelioma has already killed twice as many people as cervical cancer," he added.
The results come in the week when a woman won £100,000 compensation after contracting the condition from hugging her father who worked with asbestos in a dockyard in 1960s.