The Goldberg Law Firm Co., LPA

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Notable People with Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma, though rare, has had a number of notable patients. Australian anti-racism activist Bob Bellear died in 2005. British science fiction writer Michael G. Coney, responsible for nearly 100 works, died in 2005. American film and television actor Paul Gleason, perhaps best known for his portrayal of Principal Richard Vernon in the 1985 film The Breakfast Club, died in 2006. Mickie Most, an English record producer, died of mesothelioma in 2003. Paul Rudolph, an American architect known for his cubist building designs, died in 1997.

Steve McQueen was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma on December 22, 1979. He was not offered surgery or chemotherapy because doctors felt the cancer was too advanced. McQueen sought alternative treatments from clinics in Mexico. He died of a heart attack on November 7, 1980 in Juárez, Mexico following cancer surgery. His disease was generally attributed to his having worked in a shipyard during World War II. At that time, shipyards used asbestos extensively and with few precautions.

United States Congressman Bruce Vento died of mesothelioma in 2000. The Bruce Vento Hopebuilder is awarded yearly by his wife at the MARF symposium to persons or organizations who have done the most to support mesothelioma research and advocacy.

After a long period of untreated illness and pain, rock and roll musician and songwriter Warren Zevon was diagnosed with inoperable mesothelioma in the fall of 2002. Refusing treatments he believed might incapacitate him, Zevon focused his energies on recording his final album The Wind including the song Keep Me in Your Heart which speaks of his failing breath. Zevon died at his home in Los Angeles, California, on September 7, 2003.

Although life expectancy with this disease is typically limited, there are notable survivors. In July 1982, Stephen Jay Gould was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma. After his diagnosis, Gould wrote the “The Median Isn’t the Message,” [6] for Discover magazine in which he argued that statistics such as median survival are just useful abstractions, not destiny. Gould lived for another 20 years, eventually succumbing to metastatic adenocarcinoma of the lung, not mesothelioma.

Author Paul Kraus was diagnosed in June 1997 with peritoneal mesothelioma. He declined surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, and later wrote about the various lifestyle changes and alternative modalities he has used to successfully manage his cancer.