Nick Phillips owner/manager of Flashpro Roofing (right) with Sam Smith putting the finishing touches on a new roof after the old asbestos one was replaced
Nick Phillips owner/manager of Flashpro Roofing (right) with Sam Smith putting the finishing touches on a new roof after the old asbestos one was replaced Chris Ison

Mesothelioma cases on the rise

A SHARP rise in the number of new cases of mesothelioma has authorities concerned about people choosing to remove asbestos themselves in order to cut costs.

New cases have risen from 17 each year in the early 1980s to 169 new cases in 2012. Exposure to asbestos is the only known cause of the disease and less than half of all people diagnosed will survive more than a year.

The Cancer Council has launched a new resource to help Queenslanders diagnosed with mesothelioma to access information about diagnosis, treatment and support services.

Cancer Council Queensland spokeswoman Katie Clift said Understanding Pleural Mesothelioma was a new, vital guide for cancer patients, their family and friends.

Mesothelioma can take between 20 and 60 years to develop after exposure.

Miners and industry workers are most at risk, however the new wave of exposure is emerging among people affected at home, and especially among DIY renovators.

"We know that miners, transport workers, builders, plumbers, electricians and mechanics may be exposed to asbestos in their workplace," Ms Clift said.

"People who haven't worked directly with asbestos, but have been exposed to it, can also develop mesothelioma.

"That includes people washing or cleaning work clothes with asbestos fibres on them, or people renovating homes."

Anyone concerned about their risk or thinks they may have been exposed to asbestos should see their GP for advice.

Understanding Plural Mesothelioma is available for free online at cancerqld.org.au, via the Information and Resources tab.

Home renovators should engage a licensed asbestos remover or visit worksafe.qld.gov.au for information on asbestos removal and carrying out asbestos-related work.

Don't touch

A third of homes built from 1945-1980s may have asbestos in ceilings, walls, roofs, eaves, cladding, wet areas and vinyl floor tiles.

Asbestos-containing material isn't harmful unless the dust and fibres are released when disturbed.

Deterioration from vibration, aging, water, drilling and grinding can break down materials.



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