HC Deb 30 July 1962 vol 664 cc13-4
3. Dr. Stross

asked the Minister of Health whether he has noted that the decennial report of occupational mortality by the Registrar General for the period 1949–53 shows that mortality from lung cancer in coal miners is appreciably lower than in men of the same age groups not associated with coal mining; and what are the medical reasons for this.

Mr. Braine

Yes, Sir. I am advised that the medical reasons are not established.

Dr. Stross

In view of the very exciting nature of this finding—namely, that coal miners are less prone, apparently, to sustained cancer of the lung than men of similar age groups in other industries—is it not desirable that the facts should now be completely established and the cause found by means of research? Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in north Staffordshire we are now able, as the result of the present founding of a medical institute, to initiate such work? Will he and his right hon. Friend give us whatever assistance we need, particularly at the end of the search, with a statistical evaluation through the efforts of the Medical Research Council?

Mr. Braine

I am advised that certain studies are proceeding into the question now in South Wales. I am sure that the institute to which the hon. Gentleman refers will be able to make a very valuable contribution to the maintenance of high medical standards in north Staffordshire. On the larger question of research into the relationship between pneumoconiosis and lung cancer, the hon. Gentleman has written to my right hon. Friend, and I shall be arranging for a reply to be sent to him shortly.