Until a few decades ago, malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) was considered such a rare tumour that many pathologists doubted its existence. Nowadays in western Europe, 5,000 patients die each year from this disease. According to the data provided, until the end of the 1980s Italy was the second-largest producer of asbestos fibres after the Soviet Union, and the largest in the European Community.
For these diseases, the doctor who identifies the disease and, while collecting information, becomes aware of his/her patient coming into contact with asbestos, draws up the first Certificate of occupational illness which he/she gives to the employee.
The worker has 15 days to deliver the certificate to his/her employer, who in turn is obliged to send it to INAIL (the National Institute for Insurance Against Industrial Accidents) within 5 days of receiving it from the employee.
In cases where the disease is identified in a worker who is already retired, the certificate in question is forwarded directly to INAIL by the patient.