Asbestos victims group holds session

Deadly lung disease took a heavy toll before substance was banned in Canada

The local Canadian Society for Asbestos Victims (CanSAV) group is holding a second information session in Parksville next week and they are looking for people suffering from the effects.

Asbestos exposure and the related cancers are the leading cause of workplace death in B.C., according to WorkSafe BC, with 1,500 people expected to die of mesothelioma and other illnesses over the next five years.

CanSAV provides education, support and referral services to people impacted by asbestos related diseases (ARDs).

“Having lost my father to mesothelioma in 2004 and my personal experience since then, I know that many people impacted by ARDs need help in understanding the special services available to them,” said CanSAV founder Bob Katzko.

He said many patients are sent home without understanding the palliative and hospice services available as well as CanSAV’s peer-to-peer support services.

Because many ARDs are recognized as occupational diseases, compensation may be available but patients need to be informed of all their options, including Veterans Affairs, U.S. bankruptcy trusts and Pension Canada.

The informational event will include speakers from Worksafe BC, the Vancouver Island Health Authority, Oceanside Hospice Society and a U.S. lawyer specializing in asbestos bankruptcy trusts.

While asbestos use is almost completely banned in Canada, we export over 150,000 tons a year to the developing world, angering many mesothelioma victims and their families.

It has been called the silent killer because it takes years or even decades to affect people and once detected, mesothelioma is often too advanced to be treated.

Everyone with an interest in asbestos or related diseases is encouraged to attend the session this Tuesday, November 15 at the Parksville Legion at 146 Hirst Avenue. Transportation can be arranged in advance.

Doors open at 1:30 p.m. Call 1-877-922-6728 or check CanSAV.ca for more information.