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The NHS has announced that the first new treatment for asbestos cancer to be approved for nearly 15 years will be made available to patients in England and Wales.
The treatment is a form of immunotherapy and will be used to treat mesothelioma, which is an aggressive cancer that sometimes develops in people who have been exposed to asbestos.
The UK currently has the highest rates of mesothelioma in the world, with around 2,700 people diagnosed with the asbestos-related cancer every year. It often takes decades for mesothelioma to develop and many of those diagnosed are men who worked in industrial jobs such as shipbuilding, construction, factory work and on the railways, often in the 1960s and 1970s, when asbestos usage was at its peak.
However, there are an increasing number of women being diagnosed every year. Many of them have been directly exposed to asbestos in older buildings like hospitals, shops, schools and offices, but many also faced second-hand exposure, for example by washing a relative’s work overalls contaminated with asbestos dust.
Although medical professionals have been helping mesothelioma patients for many decades, treatment options and long-term survival rates have been limited as the cancer is often diagnosed late in its progression.
The new treatment combines two drugs known as nivolumab and ipillmumab. It is hoped the drugs will keep patients alive and in better health for longer. The results of clinical trials look promising with 8% more people surviving with the cancer for over 3 years and 13% more showing their cancer had stopped progressing in the same time period.
“It’s fantastic to hear that this new mesothelioma treatment has been approved. It’s been well over a decade since the last new treatment to combat this devastating terminal cancer, so to have a breakthrough like this will mean so much for patients and healthcare professionals alike.
“We see first-hand the devastating effects a mesothelioma diagnosis has on our clients and their loved ones. This new immunotherapy treatment brings hope, and signals the chance not just of an improved outlook for those with mesothelioma, but a better quality of life.
“Myself and my colleagues at Novum Law know the sheer dedication and hard work that has gone on behind the scenes to get this treatment approved. We offer our thanks and congratulations to everyone involved in the trial, and look forward to seeing the life-affirming effects this treatment has.”
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an asbestos cancer like mesothelioma, you may be able to claim compensation. Novum Law’s team of expert asbestos disease lawyers can help on a ‘No Win, No Fee’ basis. For a free, no obligation chat, call us for free on 0800 884 0777, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or complete our online enquiry form.
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