Mum died of cancer after washing her husband’s work clothes – 10 years after same illness killed him

A MUM died of cancer from washing her husband’s work clothes a decade after the horror disease killed him.

Mum-of-three Joan Davies routinely washed husband David’s overalls when he worked in power stations from the 1950s-1980s.

A devoted wife died from washing her husband’s work clotheswalesnewsservice

David worked in power stations for decades, and later died of cancer from inhaling the deadly asbestoswalesnewsservice

The problem, later proving fatal, was that David’s clothes were covered in asbestos, meaning both of them breathed it in.

Asbestos was a popular mineral due to its heat resistance, but inhaling it causes cancer.

According to the couple’s children, David would arrive home from work covered in dust from drilling into the deadly substance.

Joan then shook out the overalls and washed them in the garage, unwittingly exposing herself to the danger.

David eventually died aged 89 from mesothelioma – a cancer in the lining of the lungs now linked to asbestos.

A decade later, Joan also died after suffering the same fate.

Son Jeff Davies, now 63, took legal action and has won compensation.

Jeff said: “It’s been a long and difficult road but our family has finally secured the truth about our mum’s asbestos exposure.

“While it can’t bring her back, I know establishing what happened would’ve meant a lot to both of them.

“I suppose everyone says it, but mum and dad really were amazing people. They both had active and productive lives.

“They worked so hard to make a great life for themselves and the family and didn’t deserve this terrible cancer.”

David was a power station worker in Cardiff and then Pembroke.

In Pembrokeshire, they became very active members of their community, Jeff said.

Through law firm Irwin Mitchell, Jeff claimed a settlement win although the value was not made public.

David’s exposure to asbestos at Pembroke Power Station, that inadvertently led to Joan’s exposure, happened consequent to negligence, it was conceded.

As well as Jeff, the couple had two other sons – Greg and Chris.

The couple were happily married with three sonswalesnewsservice

David and Joan both died aged 89 from the same lung cancerwalesnewsservice

Joan didn’t start experiencing ill-health until May 2022, but the cancer came on suddenly and she died in July that year.

David died of the same condition in May 2012.

Jeff’s lawyer Alexandra Lausen said: “To lose one parent to asbestos cancer is bad enough, but to watch David and then Joan suffer from mesothelioma and lose their lives as a result is unimaginable. 

“Understandably, it left the family devastated and searching for answers.”

She added it could spark other women who experienced similar exposure to asbestos to come forward.

She said: “Jeff has shown enormous courage in sharing his family’s story and hopes that by doing so he can warn others of the dangers of asbestos and encourage women in his mum’s situation to seek the help and support they deserve.”

Despite many warnings over the dangers of asbestos, it wasn’t completely banned in the UK until 1999.

What is mesothelioma?

This type of cancer mainly affects the lining of the lungs, according to the NHS.

It is typically linked with exposure to asbestos.

In the UK, more than 2700 people are diagnosed with the dreaded disease each year.

It’s most common in people aged over 75.

Symptoms of mesothelioma in the lining of the lungs include:

chest pain
shortness of breath
fatigue (extreme tiredness)
a high temperature and sweating, particularly at night
a persistent cough
loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss
clubbed (swollen) fingertips

The same cancer can also affect other organs, including lining of the tummy.

Those symptoms include:

tummy pain or swelling
feeling or being sick
loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss
diarrhoea or constipation

The NHS urges anyone with those symptoms to speak with a GP and tell them about any possible previous exposure to asbestos.

Jeff hopes his legal case inspires others to come forwardwalesnewsservice

The couple were known as committed members of their communitywalesnewsservice

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