This year’s Mesothelioma UK Patient and Carer Day was held in Brighton on 5 October 2023. The annual event brings together people affected by mesothelioma to share experiences, learn about living well with mesothelioma, as well as find out about the latest research and treatments.
Professor Nick Maskell, Chair of the Mesothelioma UK Board of Trustees and Professor of Respiratory Medicine at the University of Bristol, was first to the podium and gave an update on mesothelioma in the UK today.
He said that while the asbestos-related cancer is “still a very big problem” – with over 2,200 cases diagnosed per year, the good news is that treatment options are increasing. He went on to thank the patients who have participated in clinical trials, without whom these treatment advances would not have been possible. He also mentioned the huge contribution made by the Mesothelioma UK specialist nurses.
He wrapped up by acknowledging that whilst headwinds such as the rising cost of living and post-Covid have put more pressures on all charities, Mesothelioma UK is looking to the future with a focus on increasing support and maximising fundraising efforts.
Watch the video welcome message and update from our CEO Liz Darlison:
Speakers talk about clinical, patient, campaign and technology issues
Across the rest of the day, a range of speakers talked about diverse topics ranging from a UK mesothelioma nursing expertise, to the MARS2 trail and the future of radical surgery, through to advanced asbestos detection.
Other speakers addressed issues relating to cough and mesothelioma; wellbeing workshops; managing Scan Related Anxiety (Scanxiety) in mesothelioma; carers courses, advances in drug therapy; how useful are radiotherapy approaches in the treatment of mesothelioma; an overview of recent patient experience research at the Mesothelioma UK Research Centre; nanotechnology to improve mesothelioma care; thermal recycling; an update from the UK National Asbestos Register and a focus on groundbreaking technology.
Perhaps one of the most poignant presentations was that given by Eric. Having lost both parents and two brothers to mesothelioma, Eric became an activist against the asbestos-cancer and soon formed Abeva, the Belgium Association of Asbestos Victims. His father was directly exposed to asbestos at Eternit, a local factory 25km outside of Brussels, where he worked, and Eric’s family was then exposed to the asbestos on his father’s clothes when he came home each day after work.
Eric’s driving force is to speak on behalf of victims and pursue a quest for justice, stating that everyone deserves equality of life. He spoke of the importance of talking about death, life and struggles but also remembering the joy. Speaking of his own mesothelioma journey, Eric talked about a heartfelt, human approach of surgery and mourned his own health, his words earning him a standing ovation from the crowd.
Mesothelioma UK Awards 2023
Our annual awards celebrate the amazing work of our supporters. After this year’s Patient and Carer Day in Brighton, we presented the awards and would like to thank all of you who support us.