9/11 hero, ferryboat captain dies of cancer

24 Mar 2018 by under People

twin towers collapse 9/11 hero, ferryboat captain dies of cancerA 45-year-old ferryboat captain who was widely hailed as a hero for successfully evacuating hundreds of people from the disaster site following the deadly terrorist attacks that took down New York’s World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, has died following a battle with cancer.

“It is unknown whether Thomas Phelan had or some other form of cancer, but his death is being attributed to exposure to the toxic materials, including , that choked the air after the towers fell,” Mesothelioma.net reports.

Asbestos, a fibrous material linked to the rare for of cancer called mesothelioma, was a significant component of the World Trade Centers structure. Many office workers and first responders who survived the tragic event have suffered illnesses including cancer as a result of exposure to the clouds of toxic dust that covered the area for days following the collapse of the buildings after they were struck by hijacked commercial jets.

Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly disease that affects the tissue that lines the lungs, stomach, heart and other organs. Malignant mesothelioma, which primarily affects the lungs, is caused by exposure to asbestos, a known carcinogen.

According to a study by the Swiss National Science Foundation, malignant mesothelioma begins when the long, pointy fibers of asbestos come in contact with mesothelium cells. The mesothelium is the membrane that coves the lungs and other organs. The body is unable to expel these fibers through the lymphatic system, so they are left to create micro injuries to tissue, which causes an immune reaction and a rush of white blood cells to the injury site to repair the tissue. But the cells multiply so quickly that tumors form and their RNA mutates, leading to rapid cancer growth.


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