Mesothelioma: Cause of Merlin Olsen’s Death


The NFL Pro and College Football Hall of Famer, Merlin Olsen died Thursday morning at the age of 69. The cause of his death is a lung disease called Mesothelioma.

The disease is basically a cancerous tumor that grows in the lungs thus preventing it to absorb fluid in its cavity. Its compression will then cause a build up of fluid in your lungs, which is normally fluid free. Since the main purpose of our lungs is for our breathing, a defect in this area of our body is very fatal. As the tumor grows, it compresses the lungs causing shortness of breath and will prompt the patient for medical consultation. Most of the time, when the doctors discover it’s presence it is already too late and the life span of the patient with this kind of tumor is only 4-18 months. Chemotherapy to get rid of the tumor could be done thus increasing the life span to a maximum if 5 years.

Up to this time, cancer remained to have an unknown cause but doctors are considering asbestos exposure could be one.

In the case of the NFL star, he was diagnosed with it in 2009 and has been undergoing chemotherapy since then. He earned 14 consecutive Pro Bowl honors in his first 14 seasons and was a six-time first-team All-Pro selection. He was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1982.

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