In the sixties many schools and homes were housed under asbestos roofs. The children of the sixties, the baby boomer generation, are now facing the repercussion of living their childhood days under asbestos roofs, known to be behind a deadly but rare type of cancer- Mesothelioma. Almost 5% of all lung cancers in the United Kingdom happen to be mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a medical term used to describe a cancer in the lining of the lung which develops after exposure to asbestos. The cancer usually spreads from the lining of the lung to the diaphragm and makes its way into the wall of the chest.
The cancer develops just like any other type of cancer; it consumes its victims gradually as it releases chemicals that weaken the body and slowly destroy immunity. This form of cancer has a gestation period of 30 to 40 years.
Dr David Landau, in charge of a mesothelioma clinic at St Thomas's Hospital in London, says, 'The typical patient is male and in his 60s. Most are manual workers or engineers...but there is an increasing number of patients in their 40s or 50s have had no obvious asbestos exposure. This Baby Boomer group is definitely expanding.'
A grim picture has been forecast by Cancer Research UK; nearly 200,000 people could end up suffering cancer due to asbestos exposure in the 1960s and 1970s; and as many as 90,000 could end up losing their lives to mesothelioma.