Asbestos disease not an increased risk, new study claims

Asbestos disease not an increased risk, new study claims

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East Cannington resident Desmond Bowers wants tougher asbestos policies from the city. Photograph — Matt Devlin.
East Cannington resident Desmond Bowers is not convinced with new study. Photograph-Matt Devlin

People who are diagnosed with the most common form of asbestos-related lung disease are not at an increased risk of developing lung cancer later in life, according to a new study led by Curtin University.

In the study, lead author Professor Fraser Brims along with Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital said the relationship between asbestos-related pleural plaques and the risk of lung cancer was not well understood.

“We found that it was the level of asbestos and tobacco exposure and not the plaque that raises the risk of lung cancer,” he said.

Dr Brims said patients who have been told they have asbestos-related pleural plaque may be worried about the diagnosis and what it means for their future health.

“This research will allow doctors to reassure patients and their families that the pleural plaques are just a scar from the asbestos and not a sign, or a risk factor, for more serious diseases such as lung cancer,” he said.

However East Cannington resident Desmond Bowers said he was not convinced and wanted a solution to asbestos.

“Researchers sitting in front of a computer can’t really understand the lives of people that have been terribly affected by asbestos,” he said.