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Mesothelioma Does Not Respect Fame Or Fortune - Steve McQueen

Steve McQueen will always be remembered for the cool characters he played in such movie classics as The Great Escape, The Sand Pebbles, Bullitt, The Getaway, and Papillon. What few people realize is that this superstar's life was cut short at the age of 50 on November 7, 1980 by malignant peritoneal mesothelioma.

At the time he was diagnosed, in 1979, McQueen's doctors advised him that there was no cure. He was advised that neither chemotherapy nor surgery were options. Left with no choice, McQueen sought a miracle cure in a controversial clinic, which continues to operate today, in Tijuana, Mexico. He underwent a torturous three month regimen involving animal cell injections, laetrile, and over 100 vitamin pills a day. But his health only deteriorated until he eventually died after an unsuccessful operation to debulk the tumor surgically.

The tragedy is two-fold. The first tragedy is that a great actor's life was cut short in the prime of his career. The second tragedy is that since 1980, very little has changed with respect to the treatment options available for mesothelioma patients. Many patients continue to travel to Mexico on the false promise that their cancer can be cured by a combination of juices, enemas, laetrile and other "detoxifying" nostrums. McQueen's Legacy of Laetrile (11/15/05)

*** POSTED FEBRUARY 3, 2000 ***