The relentless toll of the the widow-maker. The women left behind when asbestos killed their husbands, a winemaker, a State governor, an asbestos company executive, a worker.
TWENTY years ago it was rarer than leprosy. Doctors could graduate and practise all their lives without seeing a single case of mesothelioma. Today Australia is in the middle of an epidemic of this strange and terrible man-made cancer - in fact we have the second highest incidence of it in the world, after South Africa.
It has killed more people than AIDS, yet it gets only a tiny fraction of the media coverage, only a few per cent of the research funds. At last count, 2,015 people had been registered dead or dying of the disease, and cases are being reported at the rate of almost one a day. By the end of the decade, this and other asbestos-related diseases will have claimed 16,000 Australian lives.