Lung Foundation Australia is marking Asbestos Awareness Week with the graduation and launch of the Asbestos Related Disease and Pleural Mesothelioma Nurses Special Interest Group (SIG).
Pleural mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung, accounts for nearly 95 percent of all mesothelioma cases in Australia. Mesothelioma can also occur in the lining of the heart, chest or abdominal cavity.
Lung Foundation Australia developed and piloted an Asbestos Related Disease/Pleural Mesothelioma Nurse Education Program earlier this year with 10 nurses from around Australia who had a specific interest in pleural mesothelioma.
After their graduation on Thursday (28 November), these nurse-leaders in pleural mesothelioma will form the National Mesothelioma Nurse Special Interest Group (SIG) and help other nurses in caring for patients affected by this disease.
The Lung Foundation will also launch a new patient and carer’s resource package, which includes a DVD and information for patients with pleural mesothelioma.
Lung Foundation Australia CEO William Darbishire said it was fantastic these nurses have undertaken the training and were now able to help educate and mentor other nurses about asbestos and pleural mesothelioma.
“They can also advocate for other nurses to improve their skills in managing patients with pleural mesothelioma by undertaking our Nurse Online Education Program, which will empower them to coordinate, support and provide the best quality care and information to patients and carers,” Mr Darbishire said.
“Australia has the highest incidence of pleural mesothelioma per capita in the world,” he said.
“There were almost 700 new cases of mesothelioma documented in Australia in 2008, with an expected increase of 79 percent by 2020.
“It is expected 25,000 Australians will die from mesothelioma during the next 40 years and it is important to provide the best quality of care and information to patients and carers affected by mesothelioma.”
As a part of Asbestos Awareness Week (November 25-29), the Lung Foundation will also host mesothelioma morning teas and displays at nine hospitals around Australia.
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