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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 March, 2005, 00:49 GMT
'Asbestos cancer killed my husband'
Mick Knighton
Mick Knighton died seven months after being diagnosed
Campaigners say victims of mesothelioma - a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos - are being neglected.

A woman speaks about how her husband was treated when he was diagnosed and what she wants to see done now.

Mick Knighton was a fit and healthy 59-year-old when he was diagnosed with mesothelioma in August 2000.

Within seven months he was dead.

"It happened so suddenly," said his wife, Chris. "When Mick was diagnosed he was told he had just months left and there was no treatment, no cure. He was just left.

There is going to be a asbestos timebomb, and we need to be in a position to provide better treatment than we do now
Chris Knighton

"It was terrible, you just think there would be more help."

Mr Knighton, from Tyne and Wear, did have his lungs drained and a course of radiotherapy, but his wife said that was purely to relieve the symptoms.

"It was nothing more than palliative care."

Following his death, Mrs Knighton set up the Mick Knighton Mesothelioma Research Fund, which has raised 100,000 so far.

But she said it was time for the government to take the lead.

"We really need to spend more money investing in research.

"There is going to be an asbestos timebomb, more and more people will die of mesothelioma, and we need to be in a position to provide better treatment than we do now."

She also believes access to compensation needs to be reformed.

Mr Knighton was exposed to asbestos while he was in the Royal Navy where it was used in ships.

But despite working for the navy his entire life, he was not entitled to compensation as the military services have crown immunity.

Mrs Knighton said: "Compensation just wasn't available to us. I know of other military personnel who are affected by the disease and yet there is no compensation for people who have given their lives to serving their country.

"There should be some way round this."

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