Famous Last Words; “Mold and Asbestos Caused My Cancer”


Dustin Diamond was diagnosed with stage IV cancer. The star from the show “Saved by the Bell” was taken to hospital in early January due to a lump on his neck. In his view, his travels and stays in cheap hotels in his career were responsible for his cancer. According to Dustin, some of the hotels he stayed in were low quality and could have asbestos which he breathed in, to the extent of accumulating and causing cancer. Most cases of stage IV cancer often have a smoking history. Before his death, his representatives said that Dustin was not a smoker and hence the asbestos theory.

Exploring Dustin’s Cancer; What has asbestos got to do with it?

Dustin was diagnosed with small-cell carcinoma. The cancer is malignant and often occurs in the lung. The disease manifests in two ways; limited and extensive. The limited version appears only within the lung, while the other version goes beyond the lungs. A combination of chemotherapy and radiation is usually the treatment route for the condition.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring heat-resistant silicate mineral, which makes it a good insulator in buildings. Prolonged exposure to the mineral is usually toxic. Researchers have established a link between the mineral and some types of cancers such as lung, ovarian, and laryngeal cancers through scientific studies. Pure asbestos exposure is known to cause Mesothelioma.

A patient’s history is usually vital to forming conclusions on the factors causing the disease. While the social determinants of illness point out the risk factors and pinpoint causal inferences, the duration of exposure impacts a condition’s severity. As we have learned from the pandemic, there are some conditions which, if one has asked questions on history, is vital for diagnosis, but not every detail is relevant.

Reacting To a Terminal Diagnosis

People have different reactions to a diagnosis. Dustin’s response was to find blame or instead try and establish a causal link. Every person will have an opinion about their condition. Some will accept it as punishment. Others will lash out and find something or someone to blame. Others accept their circumstances and try to make the best out of them.

Public figures and celebrities have a more challenging time dealing with a diagnosis than the rest of the population. Dustin’s friend said that he had hesitated to seek medical attention because people would take photos. Now that he is gone, we cannot start a trail of ‘what ifs,’ but we can learn from him. People will have an opinion on your life whether you are famous or not. However, when it is a health issue, the only views that matter are those of the doctor.