The Rochdale News has revealed shocking statistics about diagnosis rates for mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the membrane which surrounds the lungs.

Over the course of the last five years, there has been a 55% increase in the number of patients diagnosed with the fatal cancer, with 138 people diagnosed in 2012 across the region. To date, 50,000 people have died of the condition and projections indicate that this number will rise by a further 40,000 by 2050.

The North West and in particular Greater Manchester has a high incidence of deaths by mesothelioma due to its historic industrial past, which commonly involved the production and use of asbestos. One local former employer, Turner & Newall in Rochdale, was as a producer of large quantities of asbestos and asbestos-based products.

Worryingly, mesothelioma causes more deaths across the UK than those as a result of car accidents, with the number of asbestos-related deaths almost double the number of those caused by car accidents.

Locally, campaign groups include Greater Manchester Asbestos Victims Support Group – which provides support to victims of asbestos poisoning and their families, and Save Spodden Valley, which campaigns against development on the site of the former Turner & Newall factory. The group has identified that the land is highly contaminated with asbestos dust and continues to lobby local government on the basis of public health concerns. The group also takes part in the annual nationwide Action Mesothelioma Day which happens each July.

Graham Dring, co-ordinator of Greater Manchester Asbestos Victims Support Group commented: “This shocking increase in mesothelioma diagnoses in Greater Manchester is testimony to the long history of asbestos use in our area and the terrible consequences of that history. It is a truly awful increase in this fatal cancer.’

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos related condition, or if somebody close to you has been diagnosed, please do not hesitate to contact one our specialist workplace injury lawyers.

If you were (or may have been) exposed to asbestos in the workplace, or if your loved one was; even if the exposure happened many years ago, there may be grounds to bring a claim for compensation. Even if the former employer no longer exists, it may still be possible to take legal action.

To discuss how to go about making a mesothelioma claim, please do hesitate to contact us and one of our experienced industrial disease solicitors will be happy to help.