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Asbestos Claims Its Youngest Victim in Britain, but Cause of Mesothelioma Remains Unclear

by Gopalan on August 31, 2008 at 10:09 PM
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 Asbestos Claims Its Youngest Victim in Britain, but Cause of Mesothelioma Remains Unclear

Asbestos claimed its youngest victim in Britain Wednesday when Leigh Carlisle died at the age of 28 years.

But where she contracted mesothelioma remains a mystery - whether at school itself or from an asbestos yard which she used to pass by on way to school, it is not clear.


Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer in which malignant (cancerous) cells are found in the mesothelium, a protective sac that covers most of the body's internal organs. Most people who develop mesothelioma have worked on jobs where they inhaled asbestos particles.

A law firm specialising in industrial disease, said: 'There is a big issue about asbestos in schools built in the post-war period.

'When doors are slammed by young children or chairs are pushed against pipes, it can disturb the asbestos. This may have happened to Leigh.'

The company is awaiting a response to a Freedom of Information request about the buildings where Leigh was taught as a youngster.

It is also looking at the possibility Leigh breathed in deadly fibres as she walked passed a factory yard, where asbestos sheets were cut up, on her way to school.

Leigh, a phone company executive, believed this was where she must have been exposed.

It is also thought she could have breathed in asbestos from the clothes of relatives who worked at the factory.

The lawyers are still hoping to secure compensation for her family.

Mesothelioma is usually associated with people over 50 and men working in shipyards and construction in the 1960s and 1970s are most at risk.

It generally has an incubation period of between 20 to 50 years - with patients usually only surviving up to 12 months.

Leigh suffered a rare form of the disease - Peritoneal, which attacks the lining of the abdomen.

Her case has been turned into a medical mystery as her liver and lungs were clear.

Leigh also explained in the interview last year: 'Doctors said this is really, really rare - a one in a million chance.

She battled with the illness for 18 months but died at North Manchester Hospital General Hospital last week with her boyfriend by her side.

She began to suffer from growing stomach pains during her final year at Derby University where she was studying a three year marketing and Spanish degree.

Various hospitals gave her a range of diagnoses including Irritable Bowel Syndrome, pelvic infection and Endometriosis over three years.

But she was finally referred to North Manchester General and in January last year was diagnosed with Peritonea, reports Daily Mail. 

Mesothelioma, which attacks the thin membrane that lines the chest and abdomen, is one of the most agressive forms of cancer.

About 2,000 people die from it in Britain die each year, a figure which has doubled since 1992.

It is believed 90,000 more people in this country will die from the disease and that a further 90,000 will die from other lung diseases related to asbestos exposure.

About 200 schools workers have died or are suffering serious illness because of asbestos in schools. It is estimated about 13,000 schools still contain asbestos.

At the time of her death Leigh was trying to raise awareness about her condition.

Source: Medindia

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