A Scottish charity representing the families of workers affected by asbestos-related cancers is calling for more investment in screening processes.
According to Health and Safety Executive (HSE), conditions linked to working in the construction sector kill 4,000 people every year in the UK. Experts have warned that this figure could reach a new peak in 2015.
Clydeside Action on Asbestos (CAA), however, thinks the number of deaths could be reduced, and patients’ life expectancies could be extended, if the government allocated more funding to screening.
Lynsey Innes, who lost both her father and uncle to mesothelioma, a cancer commonly caused by asbestos exposure, thinks it would be easy and inexpensive to introduce more checks.
She was quoted by bbc.co.uk as saying: “It was just a simple x-ray that picked up my dad’s cancer. It doesn’t cost a lot of money to give an X-ray to somebody. [Carrying out screening] within a certain generation, over a certain period of time, would be ample to try and catch it at an early stage.
“If you catch it at an earlier stage the chemotherapy may shrink the tumour, you may then not get nine to 12 months – you can get up to five years.”
In a meeting on Saturday (August 8), CAA called for more investment in X-rays and blood tests, both of which can be used to identify conditions. According to the group’s chairwoman, Phyllis Craig, early detection would help patients to “start making plans for their life and their families.”