In a sad reminder that the lethal cancer of the lung lining known as mesothelioma can affect even the relatively young despite not typically showing symptoms for decades after initial exposure, a Blackburn-raised cancer researcher has been diagnosed with the disease at just 48 years old.
Doctor given just five years to live
As reported by the Lancashire Telegraph, father-of-two Dr John Timms was diagnosed with mesothelioma in July, and is unlikely to survive for more than five years. In the meantime, he is set to experience ever-greater disability, including such symptoms as breathlessness, pain, fever, fatigue and coughing up blood from the virulent and incurable condition.
Mesothelioma is usually caused by contact with asbestos. Only 35% of sufferers live for more than a year, and 9% longer than five years.
Dr Timms grew up in the Wensley Fold area of Blackburn and attended St Silas Church of England School in the mid-1970s, followed by Billinge High School. He has spent much of his subsequent career as a cancer researcher, but believes that his illness stems from his childhood in Blackburn in the 1970s and ‘80s.
He commented: “My family and I have been left totally devastated by my diagnosis and the illness has already had a huge impact on my life.
“I have always had a very active lifestyle and enjoyed cycling and running, but the symptoms of the mesothelioma mean it is incredibly difficult to do that now.”
Call for information about potential asbestos contact
Dr Timms and his lawyers have launched an appeal for information regarding how his illness may have developed. Specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell are keen to hear from anyone who may be able to provide insight into the potential presence of asbestos at the two schools he attended, as well as the nearby Crosshill Special School, which is now the site of Wensley Fold Primary.
The schools were then under the operation of Lancashire County Council, and Dr Timms and his legal team believe it is here where he could have encountered asbestos. They are also investigating the possibility that Dr Timms could have been exposed to discarded broken asbestos in garage plots around the Manor Road area, which he recalls from childhood.
Dr Timms, now a resident of Hitchin in Hertfordshire, said: “I cannot recall any potential exposure to asbestos during my career so can only think it potentially happened earlier than that.
“If anyone can help me gain answers regarding these schools I attended, or was around, it would be hugely appreciated.”
Anyone who is able to provide information is urged to contact Irwin Mitchell’s Rosemary Giles by calling 0370 1500 300 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, individuals and organisations with questions on asbestos removal can get advice here at Trident Asbestos Solutions can call 03333 441555 for a competitive quote.