Malignant mesothelioma is a disease typically associated with old age. In particular, it’s associated with older men who either served in the military or worked in occupations that exposed them to asbestos.
More infrequently, women are diagnosed, mainly if they worked in those same environments. Other women were exposed to the carcinogenic material on family members’ clothing, hair or skin.
Although rare to find the disease in a young female, it happened to 23-year-old Danielle Smalley of Aldershot in Hampshire, in the United Kingdom.
The incidence of mesothelioma is so unheard of in women of Ms. Smalley’s age that there have been only three such diagnoses in the UK since 2009. Her physician initially believed that her symptoms came from irritable bowel syndrome, and he was shocked when he found tumors in her abdomen.
Now, her peritoneal mesothelioma will be treated through surgical removal followed by having a heated chemotherapy solution poured into the surgical site to kill any cancer cells remaining.
Though the condition is considered fatal, Danielle’s young age creates uncertainty in her prognosis, and her physicians will remove her ovaries and freeze them in an attempt to preserve her fertility, should she survive.
Ms. Smalley and her family are not certain as to how she got peritoneal mesothelioma. They checked her known surroundings for asbestos, and found nothing.
“We looked up my primary school, but didn’t find anything, ” Smalley explained. “It’s unlikely we’ll ever find out where the asbestos was. I’ve just been incredibly unlucky.”
Unable to pinpoint a specific location, they have concluded that a shed where she once played in a nearby park may have been used to store asbestos, or may have been insulated with the carcinogenic material.
Understanding the dangers of asbestos is a big part of preventing mesothelioma in the future. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with this rare disease or any other asbestos-related disease and you need to determine where it came from, we can help.
Call the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608 for immediate assistance.