Our group was set up in 1993 by sufferers who continue to play a pivotal and active role assisting fellow sufferers in the Merseyside area and further a field. Research carried out by the Liverpool Occupational Health Project in 1992 interviewed 2,601 patients in GPs surgeries in Liverpool and identified 335 cases of asbestos exposure (13%).

A quarter of a million men will die of asbestos-related cancer in Western Europe over the next 35 years, according to a study funded by the Cancer Research Campaign. Prof. Julian Peto who works at the Institute of Cancer Research analysed European trends in mesothelioma, a cancer mainly affecting the lining of the lung predominately caused by asbestos.

Prof. Peto published a paper in the British Journal of Cancer which predicted that deaths from the disease amongst men in Western Europe will almost double from almost just over 5,000 in 1998 to about 9,000 by 2018 [* vol 79 (3/4)].

The total number of mesotheliomas deaths will be a quarter of a million and will occur over the next 35 years. Prof. Peto says:

“the highest risks will be among men born around 1945 and 1950. About one in 150 of all men aged around 50 in Western Europe will eventually die of mesothelioma.” He added “Asbestos use in the building and engineering industries peaked around 1970 when men born in 1950 were starting their working lives.” He continued “We are only beginning to see the effects of this as the disease usually takes between 20 to 60 years to develop.”

Prof. Peto believes that the epidemic of mesothelioma deaths will peak in Europe around the year 2020 and then decline.

This research followed Prof. Peto’s work published in 1995 which predicted up to 10,000 asbestos related deaths per annum in the UK until the year 2025.