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Lung cancer sufferers continue to miss out on substantial financial help because its link with asbestos is being missed. Each year more than 43,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer in the UK with the Health & Safety Executive estimaing that deadly asbestos dust causes only about 2,500 of that total.

However The National Asbestos Helpline believes that the number is significantly higher and research has found a clear connection between high levels of asbestos dust exposure and the risk of lung cancer. It can sometimes be difficult to attribute lung cancer to asbestos and where the sufferer is a smoker it's often assumed smoking is the cause.

While smoking remains the largest cause of lung cancer, smokers who have been exposed to high amounts of asbestos dust are at a much greater risk. The two toxins, tobacco and asbestos, work together to multiply the danger.

Carl Griffiths, a spokesperson for the National Asbestos Helpline, says: "We want health professionals and people to be aware that asbestos can also cause lung cancer, as well as smoking." Patients need to consider whether they have ever been exposed to asbestos dust and tell their doctors about exposure.

"Smokers should not assume tobacco is the cause of their lung cancer if they have been exposed to asbestos dust within the past 10 to 50 years. Medical staff also need to consider whether the patient has been exposed to asbestos dust."

To consider whether lung cancer may have been caused by asbestos it is necessary to explore the patient's work history. For tradesmen, manual workers and engineers, asbestos exposure at work will have been inevitable during the past 60 years due to its widespread use in industry, construction and manufacturing.

"It could make all the difference to their level of care and for making provision for their family's future. Government benefits and compensation are available to help victims of the deadly asbestos legacy." said Mr Griffiths.

Those who have worked as laggers, electricians, welders, dockworkers, builders, fitters and heating engineers, or in any factory where asbestos was widely used, are fairly likely to have come into contact with asbestos dust. Asbestos causes lung cancer when fibres are inhaled and become trapped in the lungs. Over time, these fibres accumulate and start to cause inflammation and damage to the lungs.

After many decades, the asbestos fibres cause irritation and cellular damage to the lung causing tumours.

The National Asbestos Helpline, which takes more than 3,000 calls a year from people affected by asbestos, is a service provided by Birchall Blackburn Law, experts in asbestos related civil claims. FREEPHONE 0800 116 4332 or visit for information.

Some smokers may find it's their exposure to asbestos rather than tobacco that's to blame for their lung cancer...


THE UNUSUAL SUSPECT: Smoking is wrongly regarded as the only cause of lung cancer.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 29, 2017
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