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Lung Cancer

Volume 13: debated on Monday 16 November 1981

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what proportion of (a) men and (b) women who die of lung cancer it is estimated contracted the disease because of occupational exposure to carcinogens.

Reliable information on which to base such estimates does not exist.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many (a) men and (b) women died of cancer for the last year for which figures are available; and what proportion of these deaths was due to lung cancer.

The information requested is as follows:

Cancer deaths and death rates per million population England and Wales 1980
ICDMaleFemale
No.RateNo.Rate
140–208Cancer68,8822,87260,3592,390
162Lung cancer26,7831,1178,385332
Lung cancer as a proportion of all cancers (per cent
Male39
Female14

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what evidence there is to link lung cancer with asbestos.

There is substantial evidence that patients with asbestosis, the lung disease arising from the inhalation of asbestos dust, have an increased risk of contracting cancer of the lung. The risk is much greater where those in contact with asbestos also smoke cigarettes. A casual link has also been established between mesothelioma, a form of cancer which occurs in the pleura or peritoneum, and exposure to asbestos dust, particularly from blue asbestos.The advisory committee on asbestos considered a great deal of evidence on asbestos related diseases. This evidence is listed in the bibliography on pages 50–55 of volume 2 of the committee's final report published in October 1979. The memorandum of the senior medical inspector's advisory panel, "Problems arising from the Use of Asbestos", published in 1968, was also considered.