Friday, 4 July 2014

Protest against Government neglect of asbestos cases

Patients and bereaved families hold public meeting in Manchester to call on Government to end ‘shameful’ neglect of asbestos-related cancer
Local patients, families, medical professionals, charities, MPs and peers will gather outside Manchester Town Hall at 12.30 on Friday 4th July, to call for more funding for research into the fatal asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma. The latest government figures, released by the Health & Safety Executive only yesterday, reveal a shocking increase to 2,535 deaths in 2012, an increase of more than 10% on the previous year.
The event, organised by the Greater Manchester Asbestos Victims Support Group (GMAVSG) to mark national Action Mesothelioma Day, is part of a nationwide campaign for sustainable mesothelioma research funding, involving charities including the GMAVSG, Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum UK, the British Lung Foundation, and Mesothelioma UK. Local MPs, including Labour Shadow Health Spokesperson Andy Burnham MP, will speak at the rally and cross-bench peer Lord Alton who, alongside the late Wythenshawe MP Paul Goggins, has been one of the leading campaigners for more research funding into mesothelioma, will address the public meeting. Alessandro Pugno from the Italian Asbestos Victims campaign group, who lost his own stepfather to mesothelioma in 2000, will also speak at the public meeting.
The release of a flock of doves into the air, in memory of the tens of thousands of people in Manchester and around the country who have died of the disease, is expected to be one of the most poignant moments of the event.
The UK has the highest rates of mesothelioma in the world. Greater Manchester has higher than average rates of mesothelioma, due to its history of industries involved in asbestos production and use. The disease is expected to kill around 60,000 people over the next 30 years unless new treatments are found. Despite this, however, investment in mesothelioma research has long been dwarfed by amounts invested in cancers that kill similar numbers of people, such as skin cancer and myeloma.
Graham Dring of Greater Manchester Asbestos Victims Support Group:
“New cases of mesothelioma in Greater Manchester are increasing year on year. It is vital that the Government commits research funding to give some hope to sufferers, most of whom contracted this disease simply by going to work”.
Malcolm Yates, mesothelioma patient from Blackrod :
“One of the worst aspects of being diagnosed with mesothelioma was the despair of knowing that there were no treatments available. It just left us feeling so hopeless. We desperately need more funding for mesothelioma research, so that families can hope for a future.”

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