Leeds, UK – (WiredPRNews.com) According to Coroner Ms. Melanie Williamson, Sheila Dobson, 59, of The Birches (Bramhope, Leeds, UK) died of industrial disease, though the inquest showed that three tests of lung tissue removed during the autopsy showed no evidence of the asbestos that killed her.
According to sources, Mrs. Dobson was exposed to this asbestos in her workplace for eight years. In June of 2009, she was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, or more precisely malignant pleural mesothelioma, or MPM.
The lungs are the most common location for mesothelioma cancer to occur, though cancers of mesothelial tissue can also crop up in the lining of the abdominal cavity and/or organs in about 20 percent of mesothelioma cases, and even in the protective lining around the heart (in as little as one percent of cases).
Unlike many cancers, malignant mesothelioma goes through a long period of dormancy during which asbestos fibers are inducing the lesions that later turn cancerous. This phase can last up to fifty years or more, and rarely produces significant symptoms; that is, symptoms which would differentiate the lung form of the disease from other illnesses like emphysema, COPD, or repeated instances of viral pneumonia.
Once past this initial incubation period, however, malignant mesothelioma advances rapidly and aggressively. Patients diagnosed in this active phase are rarely given more than a year to live, and that prognosis is only marginally improved by therapies that include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, either alone or in combination. In fact, these therapies are largely aimed at reducing the pain which is the most typical symptom of malignant mesothelioma, and in improving breathing. There is as yet no cure for mesothelioma.
In spite of a lack of evidence of asbestos in lung tissue samples derived during Mrs. Dobson’s autopsy, authorities concluded that it was not possible to eliminate the probability that asbestos fibers were present in Mrs. Dobson’s lungs, particularly after such extensive exposure in the workplace.
The inquest also noted that Mrs. Dobson incurred additional asbestos exposure through family members, by which one could assume that the Dobson family all worked in the same or similar venues.
Coroner Williamson offered the family her sympathies, and delivered the verdict of death from industrial disease, which carefully skirted the asbestos issue.