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The United Kingdom possesses one of the highest rates of mesothelioma in the world, largely because the UK government allowed the use of asbestos until all forms became banned in November 1999. In the UK, there are around 2,300 deaths from mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a soft, greyish-white material that used to be widely used in building construction as a form of insulation and to protect against fire. Mesothelioma usually develops over 30-40 years after the initial exposure to asbestos however it can range from anywhere between 15 to 60 years after exposure to asbestos.

What is mesothelioma?

Malignant mesothelioma is a tumour which arises most commonly from the thin membrane surrounding the lungs called the pleura, although it may very rarely arise from membranes surrounding the abdominal organs and heart.

Pleural mesothelioma can be caused by exposure to asbestos fibres which are inhaled through the lungs.


Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma can include:

  • pain in the chest or lower back
  • shortness of breath
  • a high temperature (fever) of 38ºC (100.4ºF) and sweating, particularly at night
  • a persistent cough
  • unexplained weight loss

Work environment

Asbestos has been used commonly as insulation material in buildings and ships for its properties of resistance to heat, sound and electricity. It was often used for the likes of lagging pipes, vessels, brake linings, boilers, rope, insulation boards, engines and turbine parts.

Most cases of mesothelioma occur in persons with occupational exposure to asbestos however there have also been a number of cases in which other persons have been indirectly exposed when coming into contact with workers exposed to asbestos or their work clothes. This largely explains why men are approximately five times more likely to be diagnosed than women largely due to their exposure to asbestos in the work.

Most people diagnosed with mesothelioma will die within three years of being diagnosed, and the average person survives for around 12 months.

The number of deaths from mesothelioma is expected to rise, due to the long gap between exposure to asbestos and the onset of the cancer.

If you are suffering with mesothelioma or know someone that does please contact our expert team to get the support you need on 01254 505090.

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Tel: 01254 505090
Tel: 0800 205 5556

Harwood Solicitors
Suite 10 Freckleton Business Centre
Freckleton Street, Blackburn BB2 2AL

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Tel: 01254 505090
Tel: 0800 205 5556

Harwood Solicitors
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Furthergate, Blackburn BB1 3HQ

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