Awareness day for cancer more common in town than anywhere else in England

1 July 2016 9:33PM

A TYPE of cancer which is more likely to affect people in Barrow than anywhere else in England was the focus of a major campaigning event.

Action Mesothelioma Day was marked by Cumbria Asbestos Related Disease Support group and health professionals at The Forum in Duke Street, Barrow.

People were invited to an information session on Friday to speak to experts about the tissue cancer which is usually caused by asbestos exposure.

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Barrow's industrial past is believed to be the reason why the borough has the highest rate of mortality for mesothelioma in England and Wales at rate of 14.3 deaths per 100,000 people, more than three times the average.

A total of 49 people are believed to have died as a direct result of mesothelioma in the town between 2010 and 2014.

Bob Pointer, of CARDS, said the event at The Forum was all about spreading awareness of symptoms and help available.

He said: "Barrow may well top the country's hot spots for asbestos but there is also a wealth of expertise in the town.

"It is also a day to remember those departed attendees who never gave up in both raising awareness of the disease, fighting for better research into treatments and making their voices heard."

At the Barrow event, Dr Helen Clayson, who has recently seen her handbook for mesothelioma launched, met with people to discuss medical advice, and specialist solicitors offered support on issues around compensation.

Around the country

Various talks and activities were held across the country for the 11th annual Action Mesothelioma Day.

What is mesothelioma?

According to Cancer Research UK, mesothelioma is a type of cancer that most often starts in the covering of the lungs (pleural mesothelioma) but can also start in the abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma).

More than 2,600 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma in the UK each year.

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Asbestos, an insulating material that is heat and fire resistant, was used widely in construction, the ship building industry and power stations before it was banned in the 1980s.

Breathing in asbestos fibres can cause mesothelioma as they work their way into the pleura, the lining the lung, and cause gene changes, leading to the growth of cancer.

Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, high temperatures, a persistent cough, weight loss, difficulty swallowing, a hoarse voice and, in some cases, a change in th shape of their fingers and nails.

Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include abdomen pain, swelling in the abdomen, poor appetite and diarrhoea.

Find out more

Cumbria Asbestos Related Disease Support group has been supporting local people since 2005.

Anybody can go along to their meetings held on the third Monday of each month from 2pm to 4pm at the Barrow & District Disability Association in School Street, Barrow.

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