A young woman was devastated to learn she had developed a mystifying asbestos-related cancer which affects male builders aged over 75.
The only explanation 23-year-old Danielle Smalley can think of is that she must have eaten some of the banned heat-resistant material as a young child.
One of three similar peritoneal mesothelioma cases since 2009, she needs to have eggs from her ovaries frozen before revolutionary “hot chemo” because the new treatment will leave her infertile.
She said: “It’s been such a shock. I didn’t even know what asbestos was.
“The type of mesothelioma I have means I’ve ingested it. I could have eaten something at a friend’s house, or in an old shed in the park.”
Neither of her parents – Amanda, 47, and dad Simon, 51, who both run an alarm fitting business – have knowingly worked with, or come into contact with asbestos, fully banned in 1999.
Danielle, who has two brothers, said: “It takes 20 years to have an effect, I’d have been two or three when I had it. It’s rare in women, rarer at my age. Usually it’s older men in the building trade.
“We looked up my primary school, but didn’t find anything. It’s unlikely we’ll ever find out where the asbestos was.
“I’ve just been incredibly unlucky.”
Initially it was believed Danielle had irritable bowel syndrome . But doctors at Frimley Park Hospital, Surrey, found tumours behind her bowel.