Horley, UK – ”A woman who made her living soldering airplane radios has died from the devastating asbestos cancer, mesothelioma.
Evelyn Boxall was 77 at the time of her death. She had been diagnosed with mesothelioma after years of working in a plant where she had used an asbestos mat. Asbestos, once prized for its many useful industrial properties such as strength, heat and fire resistance, has been linked to a number of occupational diseases. Although an organic mineral rock, asbestos is composed of microscopic fibers which, when they are disturbed and released into the air, become respirable. People who breathe these fibers in run the risk of developing asbestosis, pleural plaques, and mesothelioma, one of the rarest but most aggressive cancers in the world of oncology.
Affecting the thin membrane called the mesothelium, which surrounds and protects the lungs and other bodily organs, mesothelioma is a particularly insidious cancer because it may take up to half a century to fully develop and become symptomatic within the body. In other words, a person can be living with mesothelioma and not be aware of their condition until it is nearly too late. The vast majorities of people who are diagnosed with mesothelioma are elderly, and have reached either Stage III or Stage IV of the disease, at which point treatment is usually not particularly effective for slowing or stopping the cancer. Some remedies may be undertaken to ease the patient’s suffering and pain, but most mesothelioma patients have a post-diagnostic life expectancy of only two years or even fewer. The most common form of mesothelioma is malignant pleural mesothelioma, which targets the lungs and the chest cavity.
The cancer may also be found in the stomach and abdominal cavity (peritoneal mesothelioma) and the heart (pericardial mesothelioma). Because mesothelioma is directly linked to previous or current asbestos exposure, especially exposure that was ongoing or prolonged, there are a number of occupational demographics whose members are at greater risk for developing this disease. These include shipbuilders, electricians, carpenters, metalworkers, and general factory workers, since asbestos was so widely used in those and similar industries. Boxall died while in hospice care on April 1, and her inquest recently revealed a verdict of death by industrial disease.