Scientists in the UK are calling for patients suffering from asbestos related mesothelioma and their families to come forward to help with vital clinical research. There is a new survey that aims to promote better understanding of the diagnosis, care and treatment of people who suffer from the disease which has been dubbed the “hidden killer” by the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The survey is being undertaken as part of a project by the Priority Setting Partnership funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) who plans to publish the results later this year.
The National Institute for Health Research commissions and funds NHS, public health and social care research that is considered essential for supporting decision making processes by professionals, policy makers and patients in the UK.
With the key objective of improving the quality, relevance and focus of research in the NHS and social care, the NIHR is committed to adding value in research by ensuring that it answers the correct questions, delivers the research efficiently and publishes results in full in an unbiased and accessible reporting format.
The Mesothelioma Priority Setting Partnership Survey is available at www.psp.nihr.ac.uk and may be completed online or downloaded as a pdf document and printed for completion. The Mesothelioma Priority Setting Partnership (PSP) has been launched in order to bring public attention to mesothelioma research and aims to identify patients’, families of patients’ and healthcare professionals’ unanswered questions about mesothelioma and its treatment. The survey is due to close at the end of April, 2014 – this means that it’s vital to get the word out and make sure that this survey is completed by as many people as possible for the survey to be effective.
From May until June, the responses to the survey will be analysed and any uncertainties will be checked and verified. The results of the survey will be disseminated in December, 2014. Mesothelioma is a rare and usually fatal form of cancer with very poor survival rates in those who contract the disease. It is usually caused by inhaling asbestos dust or fibres and symptoms often do not present until decades after the exposure to asbestos. This means that treatment of the disease is difficult as it is often in an advanced stage before a diagnosis is made.
The latest UK government figures reveal that asbestos related mesothelioma caused 2,291 deaths in the UK in 2011 and the disease has been predicted to reach its peak sometime between 2015 and 2020. Although the British Lung Foundation invested £1 million into research into the disease in 2011, the UK government did not provide any funding whatsoever.
With so much asbestos still in buildings all over the UK, asbestos is set to be a health risk for many years to come. Education on asbestos is vital, not just for those in the building industry, but for homeowners and business proprietors too. The sooner we get to grips with asbestos and the more we understand about mesothelioma, the better equipped we will be to ensure health and safety in the UK.