Philadelphia Forensic Sculptor Succumbs to Mesothelioma

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A 70-year-old Philadelphia man, who made a career of sculpting the heads of the victims of murder and those who were missing, died recently of mesothelioma, The New York Times reports.

Mesothelioma in Washington D.C. and throughout the United States is a big problem because this form of rare cancer is not only incurable, but is fast to kill once it is diagnosed. Our Mesothelioma Lawyers have seen the devastation caused by this cancer. In many cases, a dormancy period of three decades or longer means those hitting retirement age are most at risk.

Many older buildings in the nation’s capital and in the older cities and towns of our country were made with asbestos. Because of its fire-resistant qualities, it was a popular choice for buildings as well as in everyday products, such as brake pads, cement, caulking, tiles, peat moss and other things.

And it’s exposure to asbestos that can lead to a diagnosis of mesothelioma or other asbestos-related illnesses. Once a person is diagnosed with mesothelioma, the median life expectancy is 12 months. A popular building material into the 1970s, today’s retiring generation may face a diagnosis and never connect it with exposure to asbestos because of the long period between exposure and diagnosis.

According to an obituary in The New York Times, Frank Bender died after being diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, a form of the cancer that attacks the lining of the lungs.

Bender got his start in photography, taking classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. Because the academy had no night classes about anatomy, one day, he visited the local morgue. There, he saw a woman who had been shot in the head and was unrecognizable. He told the medical examiner he knew what she looks like. He produced a bust of a woman that led to her identity — a Phoenix woman who traveled east to collect money after being swindled and ended up being killed by a mob hit man.

His career took off from there, as local law enforcement, the FBI and other agencies used him to help identify victims of homicide. His work was featured nationally on America’s Most Wanted and has led to the capture of many criminals nationwide.

Bender was born in Philadelphia and grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood. He served in the U.S. Navy and took up photography after that. That fact is significant because the U.S. Navy used asbestos in its warships and in shipyards, causing many people to become exposed to the harmful material.

Many older buildings throughout Philadelphia, New York, and into New England may have been made with asbestos and could have left many people exposed. Exposure over a period of years can lead to a mesothelioma diagnosis. The news has reported recently on teenagers who have died after being diagnosed with this form of cancer.

The Ferraro Law Firm provides comprehensive legal services, including mesothelioma legal help. Call 1-800-275-3332 for a free and confidential consultation. Offices in Miami, Washington, D.C., and New York City.

More Blog Entries:

Those Diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer May Suffer From Peritoneal Mesothelioma: July 7, 2011

Additional Resources:

Frank Bender, ‘Recomposer’ of Faces of the Dead, Dies at 70, by Margalit Fox, The New York Times

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