MESOTHELIOMA is a devastating form of cancer.
It mainly affects people in jobs where they have inhaled asbestos or were exposed to its dust or fibres in other ways.
Signs of the disease include shortness of breath due to fluid between the lung and the chest wall, chest pain and unexplained weight loss.
Despite treatment with chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgery, it often proves fatal.
Some people who were exposed to asbestos have collected damages for contracting the disease.
And a recent court ruling means that more residents in Hartlepool and east Durham may receive payments, and before the disease manifests itself.
The Supreme Court sided with relatives of workers with judges ruling that insurance liability was “triggered” when employees were exposed to asbestos dust, not when symptoms of mesothelioma emerged. People can develop pleural plaques, scar tissue caused by exposure to asbestos that have no symptoms but can be seen on scans. They do not mean someone will develop a fatal disease such as mesothelioma, but is an indicator that they have been exposed.
Legal experts say the ruling by the UK’s highest court means that employers’ insurers will have to pay compensation claims when people are found to have been in contact with asbestos.
Hartlepool MP Iain Wright called the ruling a “welcome and positive development” but said it is a moral outrage that families have been denied the compensation in the past.
He told the Mail: “This is one of my priorities in parliament and I want to see changes made for the sake of victims.
“Hartlepool has more cases of mesothelioma than most towns because of its shipbuilding history.
“I want to champion the sufferers and victims of this terrible, terrible ailment.”
● HAVE YOUR A MEMBER OF YOUR FAMILY BEEN AFFECTED BY MESOTHELIOMA? Email the newsdesk or telephone the newsdesk on (01429) 239380.