LOST TO ASBESTOS: Two women carry on their loved ones story


Asbestos was once a commonly used produced across the United States.

Doctors say long term Asbestos can lead to aggressive cancers.

We sat down with two women who are picking up the pieces after losing loved ones to Mesothelioma which is caused by Asbestos.

“Typically Asbestos type cancers, the most common one is going to be what’s called Mesothelioma,” said Dr. Bryan Mcvay with OSF Healthcare.

“To even hear that word. Rob was only 40. Within two days they had him diagnosed with Mesothelioma. I didn’t even know how to pronounce it at that time. It was devastating,” said Jill Cagle who lost her husband Rob from Asbestos exposure.

Jill Cagle lost her husband Rob from this aggressive cancer years ago after noticing a change in his stomach.

“His stomach was getting larger and larger, and just his stomach. One day I looked at him and said you don’t look heavy, you look distended. Let’s go in and see about it,” said Cagle.

Mesothelioma symptoms can be sneaky and usually include just a cough or shortness of breath.

Strides have been made but research is still slim and survival rates are low.

“The survival rate, I believe from 1-2 years is around 30% to 40%. I believe at 5-years it’s almost less than between 1%and 9%,” said Dr. Mcvay.

For Penny Major’s dad, the 1980’s technology let him down.

“My dad was a boiler maker. He worked around all the power plants. He would come home, take his clothes off outside and go right down to shower. So he knew something was on him that he didn’t want to bring home to his family,” said Major.

Penny’s father was told he had Pneumonia.

After treatments didn’t work he was sent to the Mayo clinic.

“When we got the diagnose from the Mayor Clinic there was a whole list of different types of cancer because he worked at power plants,” said Major.

Now, both ladies are dedicated to the Asbestos Awareness Group.

“One person can make a difference. You got to at least try,” said Cagle.

When asked what her dad would think of her work, Penny said,” Go get ’em Penny. That’s what he would say.”

In solid form Asbestos can be fairly harmless.

But as it’s moved around or broken into pieces, the cancer causing chemical stay in the air for days.

Both Jill Cagle and Penny Major are pushing for legislation to get rid of the material.

“The bad thing is, we actually don’t mine it anymore, and we don’t export it. We do still import it and we do still use it in products,” said Cagle.

Just last month the FDA warned consumers of Asbestos in child’s makeup being sold at Claire’s.

Current legislation is making it’s way through the Federal level that would ban the import of Asbestos.

A cancer specialist we spoke with told us another issue comes when average homeowners flip older home where Asbestos was once used.

To read more and hear their story click on 25 NEWS WEEK.com

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