Carpenter died from rare form of cancer

Jo and John Montgomery at their wedding at Thorpe Hall Hospice in 2009. Photo: Alan Storer/Peterborough ET
Jo and John Montgomery at their wedding at Thorpe Hall Hospice in 2009. Photo: Alan Storer/Peterborough ET
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A CARPENTER and joiner died from a rare form of cancer which has been linked with wood dust, an inquest has been told.

John Montgomery, from Collyweston, died at the age of 37 on August 4, 2009, as a result of a sinonasal carcinoma tumour.

An inquest into his death held in Peterborough on Monday heard it is a cancer diagnosed in about one in a million people a year but among one in 2,000 people who work with wood.

Mr Montgomery, who was featured in the Mercury after he and his long-term partner married the day before he died, began working in the industry at the age of 16.

He had been taken on as an apprentice by Martin Thompson, from Ramsey Mereside

Mr Montgomery’s widow, Jo, who now lives in Walton, Peterborough, told the inquest that he would frequently come home “absolutely covered in dust” during his time working with Mr Thompson.

Mr Thompson disputed the level at which Mr Montgomery was exposed to wood dust during his time in his employment, which began in 1986 and continued until 2001, with a small gap towards the late 1990s.

He said Mr Montgomery did not always work in the workshop, where wood dust could be expected and he would wear a mask if he was likely to be preparing wood for extended periods of time.

Mr Thompson said: “If you work in a workshop you are bound to get a small amount of dust on you. I would not say covered in dust everyday.”

The inquest also heard from Malcolm Brandwood, from QKS Stamford who employed Mr Montgomery to fit kitchens but he said exposure to wood dust in that job was “minimal”.

The link between wood dust and sinonasal carcinoma was also debated during the inquest, with one expert saying the likelihood of a link between Mr Montgomery’s condition and his trade as “overwhelming”.

However, another said a review published in 2010 based on a World Health Organisation document suggested there was not a link between wood dust and the type of cancer which led to Mr Montgomery’s death.

Mr Montgomery was first seen at Peterborough District Hospital in June, 2008, but his condition was not diagnosed until February, 2009.

Andrew Pfleiderer, a consultant at Peterborough City Hospital, told the inquest that Mr Montgomery’s cancer “could and should” have been detected sooner, although he felt “the delay made no difference to his prognosis or eventual outcome”.

Coroner Gordon Ryall recorded a narrative verdict saying the cause of Mr Montgomery’s death were a pulmonary abscess and emphseyma, conditions affecting the lungs and sinonasal carcinoma, which had spread to the brain.

He said: “Mr Montgomery died from the consequences of a sinonasal carcinoma tumour and such tumours may be due to exposure to wood dust. Mr Montgomery was exposed to wood dust during his working career.”

After the hearing, Mr Montogmery’s widow called for greater awareness of the form of cancer which led to his death.