Mesothelioma in women

Last Updated on 21st August 2020 by Kirsty Smithson

More help needed for women who develop mesothelioma

Asbestos campaigners say more help is needed for women who develop asbestos related cancers such as mesothelioma.

Women are being forgotten about as it’s usually men who become victims due to working in industries such as shipbuilding.

But there are more and more women who are developing asbestos related illnesses, such as mesothelioma, following exposure to asbestos at work.

On Saturday 14th October, Clydeside ‘Action on Asbestos’ group held an event for those affected by asbestos at work in aid of bringing them together.

They say that a lot more needs to be done to raise awareness.

Women affected by asbestos at work

64 year old Jane Capaldi, from Kilbirnie in Ayrshire, was diagnosed in June 2015 with mesothelioma in June 2015.

She had gone to see her doctor after suffering for a while with a persistent cough.


A persistent cough can be an early sign of mesothelioma in both men and women

Jane was shocked to be told that she was suffering from mesothelioma.

They said that she must have developed mesothelioma after washing her husband’s work clothes.

Jane said, “But the timing was out by years – my husband didn’t work in heavy industry when we married.”

“I had worked in the old Coats factory in Paisley in the offices – and we would often pass through the factory area.”

“You would see open pipes and surfaces covered in dust. You had no idea – no-one really knew of the risks and no-one told you there might be a problem.”

“The diagnosis is devastating and comes so many years after you’ve been exposed to this material.”

“But you work through it as best you can with the support of others who’ve been affected.”

Another lady, 69 year old Mary Carroll from Glasgow, was only diagnosed with mesothelioma three months ago.

Mary said, “I trained as a cashier bookkeeper and worked for companies in Glasgow. In the first place we worked in an enclosed office known as the dunny.”

“I became an office supervisor and, in all the places I worked, you’d pass through distribution warehouses and the factory shop floor.”

“Asbestos was known as this great substance which was fireproof. We had no idea of any risks.”

“Years passed and I have been diagnosed with this terminal condition.”

“I developed quite a loud cough and they thought it was a chest infection at first and gave me antibiotics.”

“There is no cure and you deal with it as best you can. The support from Clydeside Action on Asbestos has been immense.”


Asbestos still present in many Scottish buildings

Many old buildings in Scotland still contain deadly asbestos at work, schools, hospital buildings, offices and public buildings.

Laura Blane, from one of Scotland’s leading asbestos lawyers, Thompsons, said, “We understand the terrible legacy of illness and premature death that asbestos has inflicted on people who worked directly in heavy industry.”

“However, what is less well known is the extent to which exposure has affected those who worked in offices, schools and hospitals which were lined with the substance.”

“Many of these victims are women. That is why the event that CAA has organised is so important and their ongoing campaigning to raise awareness is something we fully support.”


Duty holders and employers have a legal responsibility to manage asbestos in their building so as not to put employees at risk. Contact our Armco office for asbestos management and refurbishment/ demolition surveys on 0161 763 3727 or by visiting

Alternatively, for all your asbestos training needs call 0161 761 4424 or visit for more information or to book a training course.

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Published Oct 18, 2017

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