Kirkcaldy MP’s cancer funding plea

Rosyth Dockyard
Rosyth Dockyard

Kirkcaldy’s MP has called for more money to be spent on research into a type of cancer which has adversely affected the lives of many local people.

Mesothelioma is an invasive lung cancer which is mainly caused by exposure to asbestos and can lie dormant in the body for many years. It was the cause of death in 2008 of former Glenrothes MP John MacDougall who worked for many years at Rosyth dockyard.

John MacDougall

John MacDougall

Recent figures have revealed that people living in the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath area have been particularly affected, with statistics showing that NHS Fife has the second highest rate of deaths caused by the disease in Scotland.

Now Roger Mullin MP has voiced his support for more government funding for research into finding a cure.

He says that mesothelioma does not currently receive a high level of research grants in comparison with other cancer research, with funding provided on an ad hoc basis from insurers, charitable donations and the government. However recent calls for more investment into mesothelioma research has garnered cross-party support at Westminster.

Mr Mullin said: “Further investment is required to investigate potential cures for this type of cancer, which is of particular consequence within my own constituency. I hope the UK Government will consider potential means by which additional funds can be raised for this important research.”

Dr Margaret Hannah, NHS Fife’s director of public health, said: “The numbers of those developing such cancer in Fife is a particularly unfortunate legacy of the Kingdom’s industrial heritage, where asbestos was used widely.

“Whilst these industries have long since closed, the interval between initial exposure and developing the disease can be many decades.

“NHS Fife currently employs two lung cancer nurse specialists who provide care for patients with mesothelioma.

‘‘The board has also established close links with groups such as Asbestos Action Tayside, Maggie’s and Macmillan to ensure that patients have access to the support they require throughout their illness.”