This Foundation highly recommends that you consult with your primary care physician for an x-ray or CT scan referral. It has been estimated that over 30 million people have had asbestos exposure in the past 42 years. There are very small amounts of asbestos in the air we breath every day and most of us have asbestos fibers in our lungs. Construction workers, plumbers, pipe fitters, boilermakers, insulators, refractory workers, shipyard workers and others whose work brings them in contact with asbestos or asbestos containing material, risk occupational exposure by inhaling airborne asbestos fibers. There is also a risk to family members who breath asbestos fibers from the clothes of those workers.
Common symptoms of asbestos exposure are shortness of breath, coughing, chest pain, a dry crackling sound in the lungs while inhaling and weight loss. The detectable symptoms of asbestos exposure can appear as early as 15 years after exposure, and they can reappear at any time during one's life. This makes it very difficult to associate a symptom with the disease and a good reason why annual asbestos detection tests are recommended.
Dr. Bill McQueen, beloved physician, husband, father and friend of many. He loved, lived, fought the disease and died from Pleural Mesothelioma cancer at 65 years of age.
Upon discovery of having mesothelioma cancer, Bill McQueen under went surgery to have the disease removed in April 2011. In February 2012, he was still submitting to follow-up exams every three months. And sure enough, after a short pause in cancer growth, the disease was found growing again.
Bill had two siblings, a brother and a sister, who died by mesothelioma. Where he and the siblings might have been exposed to asbestos fibers which caused mesothelioma is uncertain, but the farm he grew-up on had many sources where asbestos was used and present for exposure. Being born in 1948, Bill's childhood was when everything had asbestos fibers in it.
As it is with most patients found to have mesothelioma, Bill did not discover he had the disease until its symptoms were noticeable in the last stages of development before death. Mesothelioma symptoms often do not appear for decades after a person is exposed to asbestos fibers.
The news of Bill having mesothelioma caused a transformation in his family's life as now the focus and purpose of living would be to help him overcome his disease. For the youngest girl in the family, this felt like the end-of-the-world for Bill's daughter because he had always been such a strong influence and impact on her growing up. Initially, Bill's wife and children considered the bad news as the beginning of the end, until they started to do some research about mesothelioma and prospective cures. The research revealed that the science about mesothelioma has greatly improved making significant advances in identifying a cure. Because there are many clinical trials available to patients stricken with this disease, Bill's wife felt hope and encouragement that there might be a cure to his condition. Consequently, the family had a recognizable positive attitude and outlook about Bill's infliction through which they never gave up hope for finding a cure because they found so many options to try.
The choices the family made together in response to mesothelioma cancer could only extend their loved one's life a short period. Bill soon died from mesothelioma, as he went to bed one evening to rest peacefully, fell asleep and did not wake up the next morning.
Bill's legacy is that he loved, lived, and fought the disease. He is still so admired by everyone as the people recall Bill as a joker with a great sense of humor that brought joy and laughter.
Everybody loved Bill.
If you, or a loved one, has recently been diagnosed (or suspect infliction) with mesothelioma cancer, we understand the process and emotions you'll experience while making choices about your future. Please consider and feel welcomed to use the Mesothelioma Research Foundation of America as a source for ideas and options about how to deal with this disease. Our research and experience is freely offered to patients with mesothelioma.
Use our Ask Dr. Gill form to bring your questions and concerns to us. We will return your request for answers in a timely manner. Let our experience add to your search for a cure to mesothelioma.
Dr. Parkash Gill is our Chairman of the Medical Advisory Board to the Foundation, and he welcomes you to freely ask him about asbestos, mesothelioma, incurring the disease, clinical trials related to cure research, or any other related concern you have.
To answer these questions please use this form to send a request. Dr. Gill will make a reply by return e-mail.
Please allow some time for him to respond, depending on his schedule and the volume of questions this can take a few hours or days.
Compose your question for Dr. Gill here:
The adverse health effects of asbestos are well known in medical circles and some developed nations. Although use, import and export of asbestos and asbestos containing materials is banned in 52 countries, an estimated 125 million people around the world are still exposed to asbestos in their home and work environment. Chrysotile (white asbestos) accounts for 95% of the asbestos produced and used globally since 1990. There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos and not discernible threshold below which there is no risk of mesothelioma.
Globally, the major problem is with continued mining and use of asbestos, with over 2 million tons produced in 2008. In many developing countries, exposure is uncontrolled, and education of workers is, at best, minimal, and often non-existent.
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