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Victim’s families call for better asbestos screening

Posted in: asbestos mesothelioma 

Where illnesses associated with the construction industry kill around 4,000 people every year in the UK, the families of asbestos sufferers have called for better screenings to be made available for the condition. According to the Clydeside Action on Asbestos charity, early detection can greatly improve the life expectancy of patients with an asbestos-related illness.

Lynsey Innes’s father Gordon Roberts, a retired joiner, died of mesothelioma — a form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure — earlier this year, aged 70. She said he first went to the doctor after experiencing difficulty breathing. The doctors insisted he have his chest x-rayed, which found that he was suffering with mesothelioma. Doctors told him he had between 9 and 12 months to live.

“if you catch it at an earlier stage”

Ms Innes said that her uncle, who had been a plumber, also died from the disease after contacting his GP with pains in his shoulder. She said that a simple screening, like that offered to her father, could greatly increase life expectancy with the illness. She stated: “If you catch it at an earlier stage the chemotherapy may shrink the tumour, you may then not get nine to 12 months — you can get up to five years.”

Ms Innes suggested that screenings should be made available to everyone that worked in the construction industry from “within a certain generation, over a certain period of time”. A Scottish government spokesperson said that they had taken the suggestions on board and would look into funding national screening programmes.

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