Nurse highlights the need for awareness
A CANCER nurse has highlighted the vital need to raise awareness of the persistent dangers of asbestos.
A popular building and insulation material since the 1950s, the substance is still present in many buildings.
Kate Lansdell, mesothelioma and lung cancer nurse specialist at Derriford Hospital, said those doing DIY could be putting themselves at risk.
Asbestos is harmless if left undisturbed, but even a small amount can be lethal if inhaled.
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Ms Lansdell said there are 80 to 100 people living with the condition in the city at any one time. The majority are former servicemen and dockyard workers, but some are unsure where and when they were exposed.
"Plymouth is a hotspot because of its background with the dockyard," said Ms Lansdell. "Many areas of the country will perhaps never see a mesothelioma patient, or one or two, whereas we see 25 to 30 a year.
"It's a devastating illness and part of that is about it being an industrial-related disease. It's frustrating and upsetting that it could have been avoided.
"We set up the South West Mesothelioma Group to help patients support each other. They feel they have a mission to raise awareness of asbestos, to help make a difference for others.
"The group has always felt strongly about raising awareness about the dangers of DIY."
Any building constructed or refurbished before 2000, is likely to contain some asbestos. It can be present in cement, wall and ceiling tiles, panelling and more. Further information can be found through the British Heart Foundation's campaign website: www.take5andstayalive.com
Contact Kate Lansdell on 01752 763665 or email plh-tr.Mesothelioma-Nurses@nhs.net for more information about the South West Mesothelioma Group.