Cancer can be contagious
From ABC News-
LONDON Feb 15, 2007 (AP)— A British woman who claims she contracted cancer from hugging her father, who worked with asbestos, is suing the Ministry of Defence for 75,000 pounds ($146,000).Mesothelioma like Stage IV Malignant melanoma is a death sentence. Arguably the most famous person to die from this asbestos caused cancer is actor Steve McQueen.(The actor had the cancer and was seeking treatments when a heart attack actually befell him. I can't tell you how many times heart attacks have killed cancer patients. Chemo and radiation so weaken a person, the other parts of their body fail.)
Debra Brewer, 47, was diagnosed last November with mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer that is almost always linked to asbestos exposure. Her condition is terminal. Mesothelioma develops when malignant cells form in the mesothelium, the protective lining covering most internal organs.
Brewer filed a compensation claim for pain and suffering. The Ministry of Defense would not comment on the case, but said that if they were liable, they would aim to pay compensation quickly.
Brewer's father worked at a dockyard in Plymouth for five years during the 1960s, and died from asbestos-related lung cancer last year. Brewer's only known exposure to asbestos was in childhood from playing with her father, who frequently came home coated in asbestos dust.
From the time of asbestos exposure to the onset of lung cancer symptoms, which include respiratory problems and chest pain, there is typically an interval of about three decades.
There is no known threshold for how much asbestos exposure is needed to cause mesothelioma. "Even a small amount, if it is intense exposure, can lead to mesothelioma," said Dr. Jan van Meerbeeck, a professor of thoracic oncology at the University of Ghent in Belgium.
While Van Meerbeeck said that Brewer's case is rare, it is not unprecedented. There have been several cases worldwide where people have developed cancer, with only limited exposure to asbestos dust on the clothes of a relative.
Prognosis for people with mesothelioma is not good. The average survival time after the appearance of symptoms is from six months to one year. Patients' symptoms can be treated, but there is no cure.
Ms. Brewer's claim isn't outrageous. Hugging her father may not have exposed her to the asbestos, but rather the washing of a family's clothes together could be at fault. It may just be difficult for Ms. Brewer to prove that this was how she contracted the disease.
I do wish Ms. Brewer good luck and God bless her.
Hat tip- Basil
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