New figures released by the Health and Safety Executive have indicated that the number of cancer deaths in the UK caused by asbestos exposure is continuing to rise, with an increase in cases of mesothelioma of more than 10 per cent, characterised by a greater number of male deaths aged 65 and over.

There were 2,535 mesothelioma deaths in 2012, up from 2,291 in 2011; of those, 2,126 were men and 409 were women. A study from the Department for Work and Pensions has predicted that over the next 30 years between 56,000 and 63,000 people will die from the disease.

On the back of the data, the British Lung Foundation said that it is likely that the figures will continue to rise until around 2020. Responding to the numbers, leading scientists called for the insurance industry to urgently increase funding into research of the disease.

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