MEDIA RELEASE: 3 April 2019
ADRI’s 3rd Annual ‘Meso March in May’ Announced to Support Mesothelioma Patients
Mesothelioma is an asbestos-related disease caused from inhaling asbestos fibres. There is no cure.
To mark Global Asbestos Awareness Week, the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute (ADRI) today announced their 3rd Annual Meso March in May to raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos, show community support for people affected by this terrible disease, and raise vital funds to support the life-saving work of the ADRI.
Australia has one of the world’s highest incidences of malignant mesothelioma per capita, with more than 700 new cases diagnosed each year as a result of the extensive use of asbestos in a wide-range of products. If disturbed and these products release fibres into the air that can be inhaled, this can cause malignant mesothelioma, lung cancer, cancer of the larynx and ovary, asbestosis and benign pleural disease.
On Sunday 5 May, 60-year-old Sandie Foreman a victim of mesothelioma will lead hundreds of supporters in ADRI’s Meso March in May, a 4.5 kilometre circuit walk around Concord.
Although Sandie hadn’t worked with asbestos-containing materials she had unknowingly been exposed to fibres in her workplace and in 2016, her life changed forever when she was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma after an abdominal X-ray picked up a small lesion on the pleura of her left lung.
“I had no respiratory symptoms at all. I’d exercised regularly, lived a healthy lifestyle and there was no family history of lung cancer (or any other cancers) so my GP didn’t consider me to be in a high risk group for any form of lung disease. Through the Meso March in May I hope people will join me and my Meso Mutts in striding toward a cure while building greater community awareness of the dangers of asbestos.”
Professor Ken Takahashi, Director of the ADRI said, “Although asbestos was banned in Australia in 2003, our legacy affords us the unenviable statistic of continuing to record the world’s highest number of mesothelioma deaths per capita.
“With asbestos-related diseases recognised as a preventable global health threat, through increasing community awareness of this dangerous substance, the Meso March in May will be playing a critical role in preventing a disease that takes the lives of 12 Australians every week.
In the past, Australians diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma were primarily men caused from work-related exposure. However, according to the Australian Mesothelioma Registry (2016), around one third of Australians exposed to asbestos fibres occurred in non-work-related situations. Of these around 50% were women with exposure most common among people who had done major home renovations involving asbestos-containing products.
“Our hope is that through the Meso March in May, we can increase awareness of the dangers of asbestos, show community support for people like Sandie and generate funds to enable the ADRI to continue our life-saving research that aims to make mesothelioma history,” Professor Takahashi said.
The Meso March in May commences at Edwards Park (Brewer Street end) and includes Greenlees Park, Jesse Steward Reserve, Rothwell Park and Queen Elizabeth Park. People are encouraged to bring their families and dogs to take part in the 4.5 kilometre circuit walk around Concord from 10:00am until 11:00am. Registrations open from 9.30am at Brewer Street, Central Concord.
Register today for ADRI’s 3rd Annual Meso March in May to show your support for people living with mesothelioma and their families. Entry fees are $40 per adult, dogs are $5 and kids are free. We invite people to promote the event using social media and conduct fundraising through the MyCause registration platform which is optional. Donations of $2 or more will be gratefully received and are fully tax-deductible.
Anyone can help by sponsoring a friend or by making a tax-deductible donation today. All funds raised will support ADRI’s research, clinical studies, prevention and support services for patients and their families affected by mesothelioma.
REGISTER TODAY FOR THE MESO MARCH IN MAY: http://adri.org.au/mesomarch/
Interviews and photo opportunities with Sandie Foreman, Professor Ken Takahashi and the Meso Mutts Sasha and Bailey are available on request.
MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Insight Communications: 02 9518 4744 [email protected]
- DATE: Sunday May 5th 2019
- 9.30am: Registrations at Edwards Park
- 10am-11am: Meso March Walk
- 11am-12pm: Light refreshments at Briar’s Sport Club, Wellbank Street Concord**
- ROUTE: Edwards Park, Greenlees Park, Jesse Steward Reserve, Rothwell Park and Queen Elizabeth Park
- WEAR: White, blue or olive green. A black ADRI baseball cap will be provided on the day.
- Adults: $40.00
- Children: FREE
- Dogs: $5.00 ** dogs not permitted at Briar’s Club
- Free street parking
- 466 bus from Ashfield to Cabarita via Burwood. Alight at Brewer Street
- River Cat from Circular Quay or Parramatta. Alight at Cabarita. Take the 464 Cabarita to Burwood bus to Brewer Street
ASBESTOS DISEASES RESEARCH INSTITUTE
The Asbestos Diseases Research Institute (ADRI) primary objectives are to: Improve the diagnosis and treatment of asbestos-related disease and at the same time to contribute to more effective measures to prevent exposure to asbestos. With the establishment of the ADRI, as the first stand-alone research institute in the world dedicated to tackling this silent and still increasing epidemic, Australia has taken a vital step forward in the international fight against asbestos-related diseases.
As a response to the increasing incidence of malignant mesothelioma in Australia, the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute (ADRI), located in the Bernie Banton Centre, Concord NSW was opened by the then Prime Minister, the Hon. Kevin Rudd in January 2009. ADRI was established by the Asbestos Diseases Research Foundation (a charitable not-for-profit organisation) dedicated to preventing asbestos related diseases.
Asbestos-Related Disease Statistics
The number of new malignant mesothelioma cases provides a measure of asbestos exposure among the Australian population. This is because there is a strong causal association between asbestos exposure and malignant mesothelioma. A total of 15,884 people were newly diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in Australia between 1982 and 2015, with men making up 83.6% of all cases. Since 2011, more than 700 cases of newly diagnosed malignant mesothelioma cases have been reported each year.
Mesothelioma is a cancer arising from the lining (mesothelium) of the thoracic and abdominal cavities. The disease is usually advanced before symptoms appear, making an early diagnosis and effective treatment very difficult. The average survival time after diagnosis is only 10-12 months. A small exposure to asbestos can be enough to trigger the cancer, however a relatively small percentage of people exposed to asbestos fibres will eventually develop mesothelioma. There usually is a lag of 20-50 years after the first asbestos exposure before the disease is diagnosed.
Inflammation of the outer lining of the lung, the pleura (where asbestos fibres are deposited). The pleura stiffens and thickens widely (diffuse thickening) or in patches (plaques), and can fill with fluid.
This is scarring of the lungs by inhalation of large quantities of asbestos fibres: the lung becomes inflamed and scarred (stiff) making breathing progressively difficult. Symptoms include tightness in the chest, dry cough, and in the later stages, a bluish tinge to the skin caused by lack of oxygen. Asbestosis is usually seen in former asbestos miners, asbestos manufacturing workers and insulation workers, and usually takes a decade or more to develop.
Exposure to asbestos fibres greatly increases the risk of developing lung cancer in people who smoke.
Malignant mesothelioma (MM) almost uniquely caused by asbestos exposure was seldom diagnosed until the 1960’s. Since 2011 more than 700 Australians were diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma each year and experts have estimated that there were at least another 1,350 Australians with lung cancer caused by asbestos. A tragic consequence of highly intensive use of asbestos and its products in Australia in the previous century, it is estimated that these figures will continue to rise in the coming decades.
MM is a disease that develops several years after the first exposure to asbestos fibres. However, the disease is currently also diagnosed in young adults incidentally exposed to asbestos fibres as children. The fact that approximately 1/3 of older Australian homes built or renovated before the mid 1980’s contain asbestos, reinforces the significance of Australians undertaking adequate preventive measures.
The prognosis of MM patients is poor and almost all will experience severely debilitating symptoms. MM is only partially responding to the current forms of oncologic therapy and currently there is no curative treatment for the disease. It is therefore critical that we make a substantial investment in medical research to find better means of understanding the specific biology of MM in order to try to achieve better clinical outcomes for people affected by the disease.
Why invest in research in Malignant Mesothelioma (MM)
When compared to other frequently diagnosed cancers such as breast cancer and melanoma, MM has been under-studied. However, outcomes of research conducted into MM provide excellent opportunities for insights into cancer that can be widely applied. For example:
- The carcinogen is known: For most solid human malignancies, the actual carcinogen is not known (even for cigarette smoke where multiple carcinogens have been implicated). The single dominant carcinogen for the development of MM is asbestos. Therefore, its role can be followed in studies ranging from the laboratory to epidemiological studies.
- At-risk cohorts can be identified and followed: One of the keys to studying populations at risk of cancer is to be able to identify those at highest risk. Because individuals who have been exposed to high levels of asbestos are at (high) risk of developing MM (e.g., occupational exposure), these individuals can be followed prospectively over decades in screening/biomarker studies.
- High quality animal models exist: Animal models of MM pathogenesis and treatment can be studied and translated into novel therapies for MM patients.
- Novel treatments are desperately needed: The options for current standard treatment are limited and new agents can be investigated relatively easily.
- ADRI researchers have identified a novel treatment approach for malignant mesothelioma and significant investments are needed to fast track further development in the clinic.
- Common responsibility: MM as a man-made disease that not only asks for responsibility from employers and legislators, but also from Australian society that as a whole, has permitted intensive asbestos use in the past.
- Park EK, Yates DH, Hyland RA, Johnson AR. Asbestos exposure during home renovation in New South Wales. Medical Journal Australa, September 2013; 199 (6): 410-413. https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2013/199/6/asbestos-exposure-during-home-renovation-new-south-wales
- Olsen NJ, Franklin PJ, Reid A, de Klerk NH, Threlfall TJ, Shilkin K, Musk B, 5-Sept-2011, “Increasing incidence of malignant mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos during home maintenance and renovation”, Medical Journal of Australia, 195 (5): 271-274. www.mja.com.au/journal/2011/195/5/increasing-incidence-malignant-mesothelioma-after-exposure-asbestos-during-home
- Park EK, Hyland R, Yates D, Thomas PS, Johnson A. Prevalence of self-reported asbestos exposure during home renovation in NSW residents. Respirology Supplement 1, Poster 143. March 2010. www.mja.com.au/journal/2013/199/6/asbestos-exposure-during-home-renovation-new-south-wales
- Australian Mesothelioma Registry Reports 2012 - 2017 https://www.mesothelioma-australia.com/publications-and-data/publications
- Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma, Asbestos Diseases Research Institute, July 2013 http://asbestosresearch.org.au/?page_id=2794
Alice CollinsP: 61 2 9518 4744
M: 0414 686 091
Clare CollinsP: 02 9518 4744