April 4 2023

ADDRI Newsletter April 2023

Notice something a little different about us?

Say hello to our new name: the Asbestos and Dust Diseases Research Institute (ADDRI). Not a huge departure, but an important one in recognition of the significant impact that dust-related diseases pose to Australians.

Our expertise in mesothelioma remains but we’re expanding our team of dust disease specialists, broadening our research collaborations and developing significant research projects which will directly aim to address the burden of all dust diseases.

As the WHO Collaborating Centre for Elimination of Asbestos Related Diseases, we know our work here makes a difference around the world too.

Spotlight on Silicosis: A national health crisis

The joint investigation between The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and 60 Minutes, and taken up by ABC nationally in February, has revealed that around 100,000 people will be diagnosed with Silicosis – an incurable, but preventable, work-related lung disease caused by inhaling tiny particles of carcinogenic crystalline silica dust released when cutting engineered stone.

While Silicosis has been reported as the ‘new asbestos’, it was actually identified as a major health hazard 15 years ago. And unlike asbestos-related disease, it has a very short latency period of 5 years, typically affecting young (primarily men) in their 20’s and 30’s.

While it is hard and distressing viewing, the 60 minutes episode that aired on Sunday, 19 February is important viewing. You can watch it here.

This is a major health crisis on a national scale. What is welcome is that the media reporting has now galvanised unions and doctors to call for an Australia-wide ban on engineered stone products. In addition, the NSW Labor Party, elected to power on the 25th of March, has pledged to introduce a ban on engineered stone products by July 2024 and a range of reforms and tougher regulations, including a pledge of $5 million to support research here at ADDRI into treatment options for Silicosis. As the robust conversations continue, we hope 2023 is the year that active and real change happens with uniform support by governments and industry.

Mesothelioma e-learning education platform for nurses about to launch

Identifying an education gap and armed with a successful support grant via the Dust Diseases Board, we have developed a rapid e-learning online resource tool tailored to better equip Nurses and allied health professionals to learn about the various types of mesothelioma, how it presents and how to care for patients through the cycle of the disease.

After much consultation, this important education resource will launch in April 2023.

Making our e-Toolkit more accessible

As the WHO Collaborating Centre for Elimination of Asbestos and Dust Related Diseases, ensuring accessibility to our training materials is key. We are pleased all of our international training videos are now captioned with the 6 United Nations languages (Spanish, Arabic, Russian, French, Chinese and English) as well as Indonesian.

This is a giant leap forward to increase global understanding of disease identification, patient care and environmental management of asbestos and deadly dusts.

The e-Toolkit is available here.

Upcoming events

Save the date! Join us for our Meso March – Sunday 7 May 2023

In support of our patients and their families living with mesothelioma, we hope you can join us for our 3rd annual Meso March. Please come along and bring your friends, family and fur-babies to enjoy a steady 4.5km walk, followed by light refreshments.

Date: Sunday, 7 May 2023
Location: Edwards Park to Queen Elizabeth Park, Concord
Time: 10.00am – 11.00am

The ADDRI Mesothelioma Support Education Day – Monday 8th May 2023

Our Education Day is a day to inform and support patients, families and health professionals. The ADDRI Mesothelioma Support Education Session will take place online and will provide information on the latest treatments, symptom management and other support topics.

Registration will open next week for Meso March and Education Day and we will send out details to register. We hope you will be able to join us!

2023 City2Surf – registration now open!

On Sunday 13 August, Sydney will again come together to walk/run/stroll the famous 14km City2Surf course from the CBD to Bondi Beach and we invite you to join our ADDRI team!

Every step you take and dollar you raise will help us support patients and families impacted by asbestos and dust diseases. Asbestos/dust diseases are unfortunately a generational issue – the devastating impacts affect whole families. Together, we need to raise awareness of the risks that asbestos and dust diseases (such as silicosis) still have on our community.

Conversations in Canberra

It was great to be back in Canberra to present to the Parliamentary Group for Asbestos-Related Disease in Parliament House. ADRF Chair Peter Tighe, Board Member Mathew Werfel and CEO Kim Brislane represented ADDRI for open discussion on the ongoing national health implications of asbestos and dust-related diseases. Sincere thanks to Lisa Chesters MP and Russell Broadbent MP for hosting, and to Susan Templeman MP, Ged Kearney MP and Sally Sitou MP for making the time to come in and meet with us.

We have so much to achieve and we really appreciate the collaboration and support of this influential group.

A day in the life of our nurses

Our Mesothelioma Support Service is here to support the needs of over 300 families impacted by malignant mesothelioma. Our service will now grow to capture silicosis care. Working with established professional agencies, health professionals and local communities across NSW to provide clinical information and support, our two (soon to be three!) registered nurses bring their wealth of knowledge and experience in patient and family care drawing from vast personal experience, current survivorship research, cancer care networking and carer research.

Did You Know?

Over 4,000 Australians lose their lives to asbestos/dust related diseases each year – this is 3 times the national road toll.

Read more

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