Mesothelioma Victim Leaves Behind Video of Hope

Hartlepool, UK – Even after his death from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma, a British man continues to lobby against his government which he hopes will help other sufferers.
Alan Clark, who worked for years as a thermal insulation engineer on various Teesside industrial estates, was exposed to asbestos while on the job. In 2000, he was diagnosed with pleural plaques, which are often a precursor to mesothelioma. “When I was diagnosed with pleural plaques I panicked. I knew it would only be a matter of time before I was told I had mesothelioma,” he said. Clark was indeed diagnosed with mesothelioma, the rare and aggressive cancer which is almost exclusively linked to asbestos exposure, in early 2009. He was told he had only six months to live, and he died in August at age 59. Before he died, however, Clark continued to lobby the government for compensation on behalf of those who contract pleural plaques and mesothelioma, both in person during a trip to London and in a video, entitled “Hope,” which he recorded. The video was screened at the Trade Union Congress conference this week. Clark leaves behind a wife, Stella. Mesothelioma affects the tissues that surround the lungs and line the inside of the chest cavity. It’s a rare cancer that is also unusual in its long latency period as one may not develop symptoms until years or even decades after the asbestos exposure. Further muddying the waters of a mesothelioma diagnosis is the fact that its symptoms often resemble those of other conditions that affect the lungs, such as emphysema, bronchitis, pneumonia or even the common cold or flu. Mesothelioma can be directly traced back to asbestos exposure in 90 percent of cases, although it is believed that asbestos exposure plays a role in all mesothelioma cases. Although there is no known cure for this form of cancer, palliative care can be administered to slow the spread of the disease and to relieve its painful symptoms.