DEADLY mesothelioma claimed 2,347 lives in the UK in 2010 – up from 153 in 1968.
Four in five cases are among men mainly due to asbestos exposure at work which is believed to have been at its height in the 1960s. Nine in 10 of those affected are aged over 60.
Worst-case predictions for men are that fatalities will increase to a peak around 2016, with a later peak for women. Around 70,000 people in the UK are believed to be at risk.
Worldwide, there are estimated to be 14,000 cases a year, but incidence in the UK is the highest per capita in the world. Exposure in emerging nations such as China and India could lead to many more being affected, giving extra urgency to a search for treatments.