Asbestos conditions such as mesothelioma, asbestosis and pleural thickening tend to be viewed as illnesses that affect men.

This is because between 1940 and 1980, men primarily did the type of manual work that caused asbestos exposure. Shipbuilding, carpentry and pipe fitting all commonly exposed people to asbestos.

However, women also develop asbestos-related illnesses as well. More often, we are hearing of women being diagnosed with mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer.

How are women exposed to asbestos?

In the past, some women were exposed to asbestos by coming into contact with their father or husband when they were wearing asbestos contaminated work clothes. Many men would return home from work covered in asbestos.

However, women have also been exposed to asbestos at work. Women also worked in factories where asbestos was present and many buildings such as schools and hospitals also contain asbestos.

Is there an age limit to mesothelioma? Diagnosed at 23:

The average age for mesothelioma diagnosis in the UK is between 75 and 89 years old. This is because of the length of time it takes for the disease to develop following asbestos exposure.  It can take between 10 and 50 years.

Sadly, a woman has defied all the statistics. Danielle Smalley has been diagnosed with mesothelioma at the age of just 23.

Danielle Smalley has been diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma. This is a cancer of the lining of the abdomen and it is believed to be caused by asbestos being ingested. Danielle does not know where she encountered the asbestos. There is no evidence of any asbestos at her former school and her parents have never knowingly come into contact with asbestos in the past.

Given her age, Danielle would have probably been between three and thirteen when she was exposed to asbestos. It appears that she would have somehow ingested the deadly fibres.

It is extremely rare for someone so young to receive a mesothelioma diagnosis. Since 2009, there have only been two other reported cases of peritoneal mesothelioma in people under the age of 25.

Doctors initially thought that Danielle had irritable bowel syndrome before they discovered tumours behind her bowels. She is now preparing to undergo surgery along with heated chemotherapy to fight the cancer.

A diagnosis of mesothelioma at any age is devastating but for someone so young with so much life ahead of them it is horrific. We wish Danielle all the very best and hope that her treatment is successful.

How can we help?

We won a mesothelioma claim for a mother who tragically lost her son to pleural mesothelioma at the tender age of 21. This was a complex claim and involved obtaining evidence to show that he breathed in asbestos fibres from his father’s contaminated work clothing when he was an infant. Thankfully, this mesothelioma claim succeeded.

If you require assistance in pursuing a mesothelioma claim or believe you have a valid asbestos claim for any other asbestos disease then please contact us today on our freephone number 0800 038 6767. Alternatively, head over to the ‘Contact Us’ page, complete the form and we will be in touch.

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