A WOMAN in her 20s was killed by an 'very overwhelming and aggressive' cancer usually seen in people in later life, an inquest heard.

Winchester Coroner's Court heard 29-year-old Laura Emery was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, a type of cancer usually associated with asbestos exposure, last December.

The tumour, which had spread around much of Ms Emery's chest and abdomen, was described as the biggest Pathologist Dr Victoria Elliot had seen.

Dr Elliot told the inquest Ms Emery's left lung had been "almost completely destroyed" by the disease and the tumour had been pressing on her heart, making it work harder.

"This was the most tumour volume I have seen, and some of my colleagues have seen," and was a "very overwhelming and aggressive tumour", Dr Elliot added.

However, she said there was typically a 30-year gap between asbestos exposure and symptoms appearing, adding: "This is a very unusual scenario."

The inquest heard that between 2005 and 2013, Ms Emery, of Hall Lands Lane, Fair Oak, had been working as an agricultural worker on various poultry farms, and is thought this is where she may have been exposed to asbestos.

Solicitor Lynn Yates said at one of the sites – Cock Pit Farm in Horton Heath – "one of the sheds was in a poor state. She thought it might have been an asbestos roof".

Recording a conclusion of death due to industrial disease, senior coroner Grahame Short said: "It's very clear it was a particularly aggressive tumour which had spread to large parts of her body.

"What's more difficult... is to establish causation. In my experience, the vast majority who suffer from mesothelioma are in their 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s.

"There's evidence Laura was exposed, although Dr Elliot has been unable to demonstrate that. It's possible Laura was one of the unfortunate people where the cancer can develop spontaneously.

"It's more likely than not the asbestos dust that had caused the cancer.