Lung Cancer Awareness Month “How damaging can previous asbestos exposure be?”
Lung cancer and its causes are often associated with lifestyle choices such as smoking which accounts for 80-90% of cases. However it can also be related to second hand smoke, air pollution and genetic factors. Taking this into consideration, it is evident that many causes of this life threatening condition are self-inflicted or something out of the individual’s hands such as air pollution. It also worth noting that lung cancer is the second most cause of cancer related deaths in both and women*.
What is most alarming about all the figures surrounding respiratory related cancers are the growing number of asbestos related conditions. It is widely reported that there are 2,000 deaths a year due to a form of cancer known as mesothelioma, a condition that can affect the lining of the lungs, abdomen or other internal organs and has an average life expectancy of 18 months from date of diagnosis. Asbestosis is another condition affecting the lungs and can also be life threatening, causing severely reduced lung capacity and in extreme cases right sided heart failure *.
Asbestos can be traced back as far as four thousand years. It had many different uses in these older civilisations ranging from treating skin conditions to burials to preserve the ashes. In more recent times, especially regarding the industrial revolution asbestos became more readily used in insulation, flooring and fireproof firewall. It wasn’t until 1906 that the first asbestos related death was confirmed. This coincided with the many early deaths and lung conditions that were prevalent in places such as mining towns. Most conditions relating to asbestos can usually be traced back to a person’s occupation and quite often they are referred to as occupational lung diseases.
After the discovery of the lethality of Asbestos the substance was initially banned in 1986 when regulators banned the import supply and use of crocidolite and amosite, two forms of Asbestos. It wasn’t until 1999 that the UK finally banned the use of Asbestos in all its forms.
After the ban and the introduction of new laws many of the current and previous workers who had been in contact with asbestos began claiming against their previous employers as their health was deteriorating earlier than expected. There was a change in the criteria for compensation which included individuals exposed to Asbestos in certain high risk occupations. This change resulted in a huge increase in claimants for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit from 2006. Even now the backlash from asbestos use can be seen through the typical latency periods (the length of time from exposure to diagnosis).
The deadly fibre is notorious for manifesting within the human body for long periods of time with no affect until the condition finally develops much later in life. With this in mind medical experts and industrial disease lawyers alike believe that these types of conditions are expected to peak around the year 2020. Latency periods are typically subjective so can vary from person to person, they can be anywhere from as little as 5 years to 30+ years.
If you feel you may have been affected by asbestos or any of the conditions mentioned in this article then get in touch with us at Roberts Jackson Solicitors for free advice. We appreciate the severity of the issue and will always make sure you are comfortable and happy with the advice new provide or the direction we point you in. Contact us here- 0808 252 7222