A Clydebank woman who was told she had just two years to live after contracting a form of cancer closely linked to asbestos exposure says she has been left suffering from PTSD.
Laura Evans was told in 2020 that she had mesothelioma and a doctor told her she had just two years to live.
But Laura passed that two-year mark last week and she is now cancer-free.
The 32-year-old told the Post she felt there was “no need” for her doctor to tell her how little time they thought she had to live – as it made her feel like there was no hope left.
Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of the lungs and can be called malignant pleural mesothelioma. The disease can also affect the lining of the stomach and when it does it is known as peritoneal mesothelioma.
Both diseases are almost always caused by exposure to asbestos and can prove fatal for some sufferers.
Laura, 32, is one of the youngest known sufferers of mesothelioma and was speaking to the Post at the launch of a new book detailing Clydebank’s history with asbestos.
And she explained why she has been left traumatised by the moment she was told she didn’t have much time left.
She said: “I do suffer from PTSD because of that. I go to therapy.
“It’s just that one conversation, it constantly relives in my head. It’s just very difficult when someone tells you that.
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“There was no need to tell me that information – potentially I would end up dying from this disease, but what benefit is it giving me, telling me that?”
Laura is one of the thousands of people that have been affected by asbestos-related illnesses, with numbers in Clydebank being particularly high due to industries that once thrived in the town, such as the shipyards and the Singer sewing machine factory.
However, what makes Laura’s story unusual is the fact she has never worked in any form of heavy industry.
She believes she may have picked up the disease during her school years.
“When I first got diagnosed,” Laura continued, “the first question that she asked was, ‘Are there other people that are like me?’
“It’s just come about over ten years since leaving school for me.”
Despite now being cancer-free, the effects of contracting mesothelioma will remain with Laura throughout her life – one being that she is no longer able to have children.
Asbestos-related diseases are known as “the silent killer” because they can take years to develop or become symptomatic.
Laura’s story has been documented, alongside those of other Clydebank sufferers, in the new book ‘Asbestos and Clydebank’ – a reflection on how shipbuilding and industry left the town and its people paying a long-lasting cost.
Author Sam Whyte, who worked with the Clydebank Asbestos Group on producing the book, insisted he felt he had to tell the people’s stories.
He said: “I can’t imagine the strength that it takes for Laura to speak about this and everything that she is going through, and the other people that we have involved in the book as well.
“Every single one of those people is unique, and the one thing that connects them all is asbestos.
“It is so bizarre that so many different people can be affected, and it just shows that asbestos does not discriminate.
“Nobody is safe and that’s why we need action.”
West Dunbartonshire Council has been approached for comment.