Today Mike Kane, Labour MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East, gained unanimous support in The House of Commons for his Mesothelioma (Amendment) Bill tabled under the ten minute rule motion.
If made law, the Bill would require a statutory contribution to research into the deadly lung cancer, mesothelioma, from each of the estimated 150 insurance company firms active in the ‘employers’ liability insurance market’.
Mesothelioma is an aggressive lung cancer that affects the lining of the lungs. Less commonly it can affect the lining of the abdomen and heart. Nearly all mesothelioma are caused by exposure to asbestos dust. The disease and symptoms present many years after the asbestos exposure occurred. There is no known cure for mesothelioma and sufferers often die within months of diagnosis.
Mike Kane told The Commons that about 6o,000 people will die of mesothelioma in the next 30 years, but despite this, ‘relatively little’ is spent on research into the cancer, compared with other cancers with comparable mortality, leading to a multimillion pound funding deficit, which is not being made up by voluntary funds.
Unfortunately, only in rare cases does a ten minute bill become law. Instead, they are usually tabled as a way of bringing attention to a particular subject or cause. In this case it is mesothelioma. It is a rare cancer and affects mostly people of retirement age, so it’s often forgotten and attracts very little publicity and, of course, research funding.
Like Mike Kane MP, the British Lung Foundation (BLF) is also campaigning for sustainable funding for mesothelioma research by calling on the insurance industry to invest more in research funding. Anyone can ask their local MP to support the BLF campaign. You can find out more about the BLF campaign here…