June 9, 2015

Lung Foundation Australia brings asbestos health professional education to Albury Wodonga

Lung Foundation Australia and the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA) are in Albury Wodonga this month to remind health professionals that asbestos continues to pose a significant risk and to provide the most up-to-date education on the treatment of asbestos-related lung diseases, with a particular focus on mesothelioma.

Australia has one of the world’s highest rates per capita of malignant pleural mesothelioma[i], an asbestos-related lung disease, with numbers expected to rise between now and 2020.

Lung Foundation Australia CEO Heather Allan said asbestos in the community is most commonly found in building materials such as cement, guttering and wall sheeting, particularly in homes built before 1990.

“Asbestos still remains in our homes and buildings and poses a health risk to people’s lungs if it is not maintained or removed properly,” Mrs Allan said.

“Unfortunately, asbestos is a highly toxic, insidious, and environmentally persistent material that has affected thousands of Australians and is likely to affect thousands more this century,” she said.

“It can take 20 to 40 years for asbestos-related lung disease to develop although exposure to asbestos fibres does not always result in an asbestos-related disease.[ii]

“More than 600 people die each year due to mesothelioma and around 660 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed each year.ii

“This national program of health professional workshops will raise awareness of potential asbestos risks and provide relevant links to available local, state and national asbestos-related resources.

“The workshop is aimed at hospital based staff treating patients with asbestos-related lung disease but is also open to health professionals working in primary care.”

Mrs Allan said the Lung Foundation was working to inform and educate health professionals about best practice in the diagnosis and treatment of asbestos-related lung disease and quality care for those affected by asbestos-related lung disease.

Lung Foundation Australia Clinical Nurse Educator Judy Rafferty welcomed the initiative which included this session specifically for health professionals as well as one for the general Albury Wodonga community to be held later in the year.

“Australia was one of the biggest users of asbestos in the world,” Ms Rafferty said.

“We’re a nation of home renovators and it’s strongly recommended anybody undertaking ‘do it yourself’ renovations, or other building work around the house, should ensure they’re not at risk of exposure to asbestos,” she said.

“These sessions are designed to provide practical advice as well as to ensure the dangers of asbestos are not taken lightly.”

ASEA CEO Peter Tighe said it was important that all regions in Australia have access to these public health initiatives.

“We are excited to partner with Lung Foundation Australia to provide this opportunity to share best practice and strengthen networks to provide greater care and support to victims of asbestos disease and their families,” Mr Tighe said.

“Both ASEA and the Lung Foundation recognise that within each state there are already high-quality asbestos-related disease resources available as well as highly motivated and effective support programs and networks.”

RSVP to save your place, phone free call 1800 654 301, email enquiries@lungfoundation.com.au or for more information visit www.lungfoundation.com.au.

The Australian Government has created a National Asbestos Exposure Register to record the details of members of the Australian community who think they may have been exposed to asbestos containing materials – http://asbestossafety.gov.au/national-asbestos-exposure-register.



Event information:

This workshop is part of a twelve month national campaign which will see Lung Foundation Australia partner with the national Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA) to conduct workshops in each capital city and one regional location in each state and territory across Australia.


Health Professional Workshop

Date: Thursday, 11 June 2015

Time: 5.00pm – 9.00pm

Location: Gateway Health, 155 High Street, Wodonga, VIC

Presentations include:

  • History and Introduction of ARD/MPM in Australia
  • Mesothelioma: Diagnosis – Pathology – Staging
  • Summary of treatments: Surgery – VAT Pleurodises, EPP – Chemotherapy/Radiation
  • Palliative/Supportive care and the psychosocial impact of an asbestos-related disease
  • Psychosocial impact of an asbestos related disease
  • Legal impact and compensation for ARD/MPM


[i] Better Health Channel, http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Mesothelioma

[ii] Safe Work Australia, Mesothelioma in Australia, 2013