Steve McQueen Documentary Shines Light on Mesothelioma

Steve McQueen, the famous actor, will have a documentary premier showcasing his life. Almost 1,000 theaters nationwide will show the film along with a Public Service Announcement about Mesothelioma. The actor died from Mesothelioma at age 50.

About Mesothelioma

Forming on the protective lining of the lungs and abdomen, malignant mesothelioma is a rare, asbestos-related cancer. Currently, there isn’t a cure. Each type of mesothelioma depends on the location in the body where it develops. Prognosis, symptoms and treatment options vary by type. The pleural and peritoneal types of mesothelioma are the most common, while pericardial accounts for just 1% of cases. Testicular mesothelioma does exist, but it is really rare. It accounts for less than 1% of all mesothelioma cases.

About the Steve McQueen Documentary

The U.S. and kills more than 15,000 people each year. In 1979, Steve McQueen received his mesothelioma diagnosis. McQueen believed his cancer came from working around asbestos as a U.S. Marine in the late 1940s. In the documentary, Barbara McQueen recalls her late husband telling her how he once scrapped asbestos off the pipes of a ship as punishment.

She now works as the ADAO’s celebrity board co-chair, helping raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos and push for a complete ban of the toxic mineral. Last year, more than 700 tons of raw asbestos was imported into the U.S.

Friends interviewed in the documentary recall McQueen being short of breath and coughing regularly — common symptoms of pleural mesothelioma. At the time of his diagnosis in 1979, people did not know much about mesothelioma. The tumors that originated on McQueen’s pleura (the lining of the lungs) quickly spread to his abdomen, kidneys and pelvis. Doctors in the U.S. couldn’t offer the actor treatment or hope, giving him just six months to live.

McQueen died of cardiac arrest on Nov. 7, 1980, during a surgery in Juarez, Mexico, that aimed to remove a five-pound tumor from his abdomen. Doctors in the U.S. reportedly warned McQueen that his tumor was inoperable and his heart could not withstand surgery.

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