SMOHIT partners with Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation to bring information, support to members

A resource for the unionized sheet metal industry

SMOHIT partners with Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation to bring information, support to members

The Sheet Metal Occupational Health Institute Trust (SMOHIT) has partnered with the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation to better educate sheet metal workers about mesothelioma and assist with treatment in the case of diagnosis.

A nonprofit organization, the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation aims to eradicate the disease by providing research funding, education, support and advocacy for patients diagnosed with mesothelioma and their families. The rare cancer is primarily caused by asbestos exposure, and patients typically aren’t diagnosed until 20 to 50 years after their exposure. Of the 3,000 new diagnoses in the United States annually, most of them are either pleural or peritoneal.

Pleural mesothelioma, the most common form, grows like a rind around the lining of the lungs. Peritoneal mesothelioma develops in the lining of the abdomen.

Twenty years ago, the disease was virtually unknown and oncologists mainly treated it like any other form of cancer. Today, with the help of the foundation, patients can live longer, with a better quality of life. Treatments specific to mesothelioma – including radiation, chemotherapy and surgery – are far more successful than even a decade ago.

Part of the partnership is to make sure sheet metal workers have the facts about the disease. Just like with many forms of cancer, the earlier the diagnosis and treatment, the better the outcome.

A diagnosis is no longer a death sentence, said Randall Krocka, SMOHIT administrator.

Expert medical intervention is the key to successfully treating the disease. Upon diagnosis, the foundation will connect patients with one-on-one consultations with the foundation’s expert nurse practitioner, who can help patients and their families select specialists, manage symptoms and side effects, retain financial aid and make support group introductions, said Maja Belamaric, director of communications for the foundation.

Clinicians on the foundation’s team have published data on mesothelioma in the medical community. This expertise helps them more efficiently treat the disease.

“Mesothelioma experts understand this disease and are able to draw from their vast patient experience to personalize the medical/surgical approach to patients,” said Mary Hesdorffer, APRN, expert nurse practitioner and executive director of the foundation. “Consulting with an expert who has a published track record in this disease can have a significant impact on survival.”

The foundation also attends many of SMOHIT’s mesothelioma screenings at union halls and training centers across the country to help educate sheet metal workers and calm any fears surrounding screenings and diagnosis.

“This is more of a proactive approach to help get sheet metal workers some support,” Krocka said. “It’s another resource or help with the members with a positive diagnosis and potentially peace of mind for those who have been screened or diagnosed.”

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Raphael Rosa
    April 5, 2016 1:07 pm

    how about coming back to Vegas and testing the brothers that were in here for the last test that you guys did he really cared about us you come

    • Hello Brother Rosa,
      We do our Job-Hazard screening for all SMART local unions members around the country year round to maintain a five year rotation. Local #88 in Las Vegas was recently screened in April of 2015. Unfortunately at almost every local union that we visit someone has a conflict with the scheduled dates that we are in their area for screening and are not able to attend. In order to make sure that all other local members are screened we need to continue to move our program around the country. If there is an urgent need for any member to be screened or you just couldn’t make the screening while we were in your area, and you don’t want to wait for another five years, just give me a call or send me an email and we will try to get you into another screening that is closest to your home local or find a clinic for you that will work with us to get you screened. Thank you for your comment.
      Randall Krocka
      SMOHIT Administrator
      703-739-7130 x601