Friday Frontline: Cancer Updates, Research and Education on November 22, 2019


From plans to sue the School District of Philadelphia over a mesothelioma diagnosis to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson singing for a 3-year-old with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, here’s what is making headlines in the cancer space this week.

A teacher plans to file a lawsuit against the School District of Philadelphia after she received a mesothelioma diagnosis. Lea DiRusso told Good Morning America that she worked at two buildings with documented asbestos problems in her 30 years with the district. Asbestos is a known risk factors for cancer, including lung cancer and mesothelioma, according to the American Cancer Society.

DiRusso had to give up teaching because of her diagnosis and is concerned about the other teachers and students who are inside those classrooms.

“The District realizes that it has a serious challenge with asbestos in our more than 200 school buildings. Our goal is to have the best notification system possible, to have the most effective response possible and to eventually remove as much asbestos from our schools as possible,” the School District of Philadelphia told ABC News.

Congressional Democrats want answers from Google about its new partnership with Ascension Health. House Energy Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. and three other democratic leaders asked Google and Ascension for more information by Dec. 6. They want to know about the use of patient information and why neither company informed their patients about the sharing and storage of their health information.

Google has only acknowledged that some employees had access to the information but stressed that it did not use the data for advertising purposes.

A special education teacher in Massachusetts adopted one of her former students after his mother died of cancer. Kerry Bremer approached Jake’s mother Jean Manning, about guardianship a few years ago. Jake has Down syndrome and Bremer knew that his mother would need a backup plan should anything happen to her. Over the years, the two families shared holidays and took Jake to appointments.

When Jean Manning died last Wednesday, 14-year-old Jake moved into the Bremer’s home. “We shared ‘our boy’ and she will live on here in this house,” Bremer said in an interview with WCVB.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson turned into a real-life Maui to help cheer up a young boy with cancer. The actor, who played the character in the movie “Moana,” turned to Instagram to sing a verse from the song “You’re Welcome” to help inspire 3-year-old Hyrum Harris who is fighting acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He watches the movie up to 10 times a day because he loves the character and (Maui) makes him feel strong, Johnson wrote in his post.

“Hyrum, I know I’m a complete stranger to you - who sounds a lot like your hero, Maui (only with a very large head), but myself along with millions of other strangers who will watch this video are sending you so much love, strength and mana your way.”