Health screenings take place Sept. 23; Mesothelioma Awareness Day is Sept. 26

The Sheet Metal Occupational Health Institute Trust (SMOHIT), the health and safety arm of the unionized sheet metal, air conditioning and welding industry, will host a free health screening tomorrow (Friday, Sept. 23) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Sheet Metal Workers Local No. 20, 6450 Ameriplex Drive, for members to test for asbestos exposure, blood pressure and cholesterol, among others.

The Sept. 23 screening leads up to Mesothelioma Awareness Day, which is Sept. 26. Health professionals also will educate sheet metal workers and calm any fears surrounding screenings and diagnosis of mesothelioma, a rare cancer primarily caused by asbestos exposure where patients typically aren’t diagnosed until 20 to 50 years after their exposure. Because of early detection, treatments specific to mesothelioma – including radiation, chemotherapy and surgery – are far more successful than even a decade ago. 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.

In 2016, SMOHIT will visit 20 local union halls in 30 locations across the country and screen approximately 1,600 to 1,800 members. Last year, 1,403 members were screened at 16 local union halls in 25 locations across the United States. This screening also mark the last of the year. Screenings will begin again in May.