Initiatives In Detecting The Cases Of Asbestos Related Diseases In Europe

Initiatives In Detecting The Cases Of Asbestos Related Diseases In Europe

Asbestos exposure causes harmful consequences, resulting in thousands of deaths per year. The victims who were exposed to it at work or other places file claims to get compensation. This results in big financial losses of the companies who use asbestos in manufacturing various products or providing services. Definitely, the situation is not beneficial for many parties, and some of them are interested in underreporting the number of asbestos-related diseases. In order to fight this phenomenon a range of European countries have adopted their own methods. The policies of Norway, Germany, Austria and Finland vary due to the peculiarities of each country’s healthcare and law systems.

The initiator of such measures is Finland. Since 1990 a few campaigns for checking workers who contacted with asbestos for a long time were made. The purpose of such campaigns was identifying the diseases that were caused by asbestos dust and forming clear statistics regarding this problem. The detected cases were analyzed and the victims got compensational payments. These programs were also aimed at spreading the correct information about asbestos related diseases, asbestos effect on organism and risks of cancer among the population.

In Norway the National Insurance Administration together with the Norwegian cancer register took a mission for informing patients with cancer diseases about the possibility of occupational reason of their disease. A lot of people have no idea about the connection between their work and diagnosis. To reveal new cases of asbestos related diseases a list of all detected cases is sent to the National Insurance Administration every two weeks. Each patient receives a letter with detailed description of possible causes for his type of cancer, order of recognizing it as an occupational one and options to obtain compensation. A patient only needs to confirm the wish to file a claim for compensation, if he makes such a decision.

In Germany a great attention is paid to the early diagnosing mesothelioma and other types of cancer with potentially occupational origin. The Berufsgenossenschaften pays much attention to improving the diagnostics quality, scientific research for inventing new, more efficient methods of diagnostics. Germany’s approach helps to reduce the number of cases with late stages of asbestos related diseases that hardly respond to treatment and have the worst possible prognosis.

In Austria the Hatschek factory that produces asbestos-containing cement products together with the Allgemeine Unfallversicherungsanstalt has initiated a campaign that implies medical examination of people who were exposed to asbestos to reveal possible health problems.

The most of these initiatives in Europe are aimed at detecting asbestos related diseases on early stages. This purpose is highly reasonable in case of asbestosis and lung cancer. According to the statistics, early diagnostics helps to increase life expectancy up to 5 years. However, it doesn’t have any effect on mortality rates. Diagnostics with the use of X-Ray and sputum cytology is not so effective as it is needed. Low dose tomography shows better results, as 70% of cancer cases detected this way is operable, while X-Ray screening gives only 20% of operable cases.

Early detection of mesothelioma has doubtful effect. There is no efficient treatment for this disease, whatever stage it has. With an early diagnosed mesothelioma a patient can get better supportive therapy. There is an obvious need in other initiatives for scientific research of new treatment approaches, caring services development, etc.

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