SPAIN: Asbestos-related occupational cancers are significantly under-reported

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A study by Alfredo Menéndez-Navarro of the University of Granada, published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, analyses the number of asbestos-related cancer cases recognized as an occupational disease between 1978 and 2011. It shows extensive under-reporting of these cancers.

Asbestos-related cancers have been registered since 1978 on the Spanish list of occupational diseases. This registration ought to have resulted in a sharp increase in the number of cases of compensation related to these diseases. But only 164 cases of asbestos-related cancer were recognized between 1978 and 2011. According to the authors of the study, the rate of under-reporting is estimated at 93.6% (men) and 99.7% (women) for mesothelioma and 98.8% (men) and 100% (women) for bronchial and lung cancers.

According to the authors, it is essential to establish a system for information on and monitoring of asbestos-related cancers (mesothelioma, cancers of the larynx, lungs or ovaries) to ensure for the victims the compensation to which they are entitled. The number of people affected will probably grow constantly in the next few years.

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