Steve McQueen Documentary Talks Mesothelioma
The Steve McQueen documentary was released last week to select theaters. The documentary about the American Icon is being preceded nationwide by a public service announcement featuring Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) president and co-founder Linda Reinstein, and Barbara McQueen, Steve’s widow.
The announcement aims to educate the public about the dangers of asbestos, the importance of a ban, and the plight of those suffering from asbestos-related diseases.
Steve McQueen is one of the most well-known victims of malignant mesothelioma, a disease that developed as a result of exposure to asbestos in his young adult years when serving in the Marine Corps.
McQueen recalled being made to scrape asbestos off the pipes of the ship on which he was stationed. The actor said the job was given as punishment to him and others who didn’t always play by the rules.
McQueen’s exposure occurred in the 1940s and he was diagnosed in 1979. The long latency period is typical of the disease, which can take decades to appear.
Doctors in the U.S. told him, at the time, that there were no options for successful treatment, so the actor went to Mexico to seek alternatives.
There he took part in treatment that he referred to as “non-specific metabolic therapy.”
He viewed the treatment as a chance for a miracle, given the prognosis of his U.S. doctors. But, alas, McQueen died in November 1980 during a surgical procedure to remove a huge mass from his abdomen.
His doctors in the U.S. had warned that surgery of this kind was a huge risk and that his heart could not tolerate it. It turned out they were quite accurate in their assessment as McQueen died of cardiac arrest in the middle of the operation, which took place in Juarez.
All of that behind her, widow Barbara McQueen now campaigns for a ban on asbestos and for the rights of mesothelioma patients who were negligently exposed to the material.
“To this day, Barbara’s love for Steve runs so deep, and she works so hard to raise awareness about asbestos disease in his honor,” ADAO’s Reinstein said. “As the PSA explains, asbestos-caused diseases are 100 percent preventable, but as long as asbestos remains legal and lethal, we must take lifesaving prevention into our own hands.”
The movie has been released by a Christian film-making company and reveals much about how the actor turned to Christianity just before his cancer diagnosis.
Near the end of his life, he looked to many in his faith community for comfort, including the Rev. Billy Graham. It is said that McQueen died clutching Graham’s personal Bible.