Mesothelioma is cancer of the mesothelial cells. These cells make up the membrane (lining) that covers the outer surface of most of our body’s organ. There are two types. Pleural mesothelioma, the most common type, which develops in the tissue covering the lungs, and peritoneal mesothelioma, which develops in the lining of the tummy (abdomen).
The disease is incurable, and Leeds now has the highest mortality rate in the country, with 760 people dying from Mesothelioma since 1981. Experts have also predicted this rate will not peak until 2020.
It is caused by inhaling deadly asbestos dust, and some are affected who have not been working with consumer and industrial products, including textiles, insulation and building material. An example of this is June Hancock. Her daughter, Kimberly Stubbs, said her asbestos-related death was caused by years of growing up in Armley and playing in asbestos dust. She blamed the JW Roberts factory for spewing asbestos dust out onto the streets.
Stubbs stated the disease is in “our schools, our public buildings, even in houses” and called this “frightening, distressing and altogether unacceptable.” She said that we need to realise Mesothelioma is a disease in our past, present and future.
Before her mother’s death, June won an almighty case against the firm’s parent company for asbestos-related illness. In 1997, the June Hancock Mesothelioma Research Fund was started, and since then the charity has managed to raise over £3.3 million.
Former Leeds West MP, John Battle, said he believes the number of deaths will be higher in a few years time, and that Mesothelioma is a terrible death that drags people through “the gates of hell.” He finished by saying June’s campaign needs to be continued in order to help those who are diagnosed with Mesothelioma.