Global Asbestos Congress 2004

Asbestos Related Lung Cancer: As One of the Victims

Fumitoshi Saito
Japan Association of Mesothelioma and Asbestos Related-Diseases Victims and Their Families, Japan

I am now 66 years old. 35 years ago, I started my job as an electrician for houses, shops and factories. I was exposed to asbestos when I used several types of asbestos-containing boards at worksites. I worked in a dusty environment without using a mask.

I heard that there are still many workers who don't know about asbestos and don't use any protection against asbestos. Also, I heard that the number of victims is increasing.

So, as an asbestos victim, I would like to tell you about my case. I was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1998 and had an operation to remove part of my right lung. Currently, I have a cough, difficulty breathing and feel pain around my scar when the weather, especially the temperature and humidity, change. In 2002, a doctor and a nurse came to my house and asked about my job. After answering their questions, I was told that my sickness might be caused by asbestos.

This was the first time I heard about asbestos. I was astonished that I had worked everyday amidst such dust without knowing anything. I surely was exposed to asbestos because asbestos fibers were found in my lung. Then, I tried to apply for workers' accident compensation insurance. The Tokyo Occupational Safety and Health Center helped me and my application was accepted in 2003.

After that, in the February 2004, several victims and their families founded this society. I would like our society to create opportunities for all asbestos sufferers to share their problems and worries. I myself didn't know about asbestos and spent all my working life ignorant of its dangers. So, I try to inform asbestos victims all over the nation about asbestos, particularly about diagnosis, treatment, care for families and compensation.