New figures reveal that almost 1,200 people in Merseyside have passed away as a result of mesothelioma since 1981.
The staggering statistic, released by the Health and Safety Executive, has encouraged locals and charity leaders to demand that more money is invested in asbestos-related cancer research, liverpoolecho.co.uk reports.
Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer affecting the membrane lining of the lungs and abdomen, for which there is currently no cure. The primary cause of the disease is exposure to asbestos which, if inhaled, can even kill decades later.
According to the figures released, some 89 men were killed by mesothelioma between 1981 and 1985, rising to 116 between 1986 and 1990, then 136 between 1991 and 1995. Between 2006 and 2010, that figure rose to 258 deaths. Despite being far more common in men than women, some 144 women have also died from mesothelioma since 1981.
John Flanagan from the Merseyside Asbestos Victims Support Group (MAVSG) said: “There are also many more people who are still suffering with the disease or have yet to be diagnosed with it. We are expecting mesothelioma to peak between 2015 and 2018 so there are a lot more cases to come.”
A day of action was staged at Liverpool Town Hall by MAVSG on July 5, which included fund-raising activities, guest speakers and the release of white doves to commemorate those who died over the past year.
Asbestos-related cancer deaths are increasing across the country; accringtonobserver.co.uk has reported that 40 people in Hyndburn, Lancashire, alone died from mesothelioma between 1981 and 2011.