The Mesothelioma Center Is the Nation’s Most Trusted Resource
September 23, 2021
An estimated 3,000 people in the United States are diagnosed annually with malignant mesothelioma cancer. When they need assistance, more than half of them contact The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com, the nation’s most trusted mesothelioma resource.
Yes, our footprint is large. And with good reason. No one does it better.
As patients, loved ones, survivors, doctors and researchers observe Mesothelioma Awareness Day on Sept. 26, the services provided by The Mesothelioma Center continue to offer much-needed support, hope and guidance to aggressively combat this rare cancer.
“I don’t know if I would have made the best decisions without [The Mesothelioma Center],’’ said Janel, a patient diagnosed with mesothelioma in early 2021. “I didn’t feel alone anymore on this journey. I got fast responses, educated guidance and still get ongoing encouragement.”
Founded in 2006, The Mesothelioma Center is dedicated to informing, assisting, connecting and advocating for patients and families, all free of charge.
It’s what we do. Everyone is welcome here.
“The Mesothelioma Center provided us with all the comprehensive information we needed to attend to my dad’s needs, to better understand this horrible disease,” said Deborah, the daughter of a mesothelioma patient. “I can’t say enough about how helpful they were during our time of need.”
Advocates Connect Patients to the Best Care
Our Patient Advocates, who also participate in Mesothelioma Awareness Day events, work tirelessly to connect patients and families to the resources they need to navigate a difficult mesothelioma diagnosis.
With a variety of specialized backgrounds, they cover all bases, helping callers find answers to myriad questions. Our Patient Advocates have enrolled almost 100 mesothelioma patients and caregivers in one of our virtual support groups, which meet regularly.
In the past year, Patient Advocates have connected more than 700 mesothelioma patients and family members to our on-staff doctor and nurses. Their efforts help bring families considerable peace of mind, knowing the best possible care is within reach.
“The monthly online support group is very important to me. It’s helpful to hear directly from other patients openly sharing information,” said Richard, a mesothelioma survivor. “If you are a patient or a caregiver, go to the website and get involved with the support group.”
Mesothelioma Contributors Share Expertise
Professional contributors who work with The Mesothelioma Center include:
- Surgical oncologist and peritoneal mesothelioma specialist Dr. Paul Sugarbaker of MedStar Washington Hospital Center
- Thoracic surgeon Dr. Raja Flores, chairman of the Department of Thoracic Surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City
- Dr. Jacques Fontaine, director of the Mesothelioma Research and Treatment Center at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa
- Dr. Marcelo DaSilva, chief of thoracic surgery and founder of the Mesothelioma International Treatment Program at AdventHealth Cancer Institute in Orlando
- Thoracic surgeon and pleural mesothelioma specialist Dr. Nestor Villamizar of Sylvester Cancer Center at University of Miami
- Radiation oncologist Dr. Charles Simone, chief medical officer at the New York Proton Center
Not only are top mesothelioma specialists regular contributors at The Mesothelioma Center, two long-term mesothelioma survivors – Tamron Little and Emily Ward – frequently share their thoughts, advice and experiences on Asbestos.com.
Little was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma in 2007 at the age of 21. She shares her journey to inspire others and offer hope. Ward is a retired nurse and pleural mesothelioma survivor who was diagnosed in 2012. She has spent her life helping others.
Helping Patients, Veterans with Benefits
The Mesothelioma Center has helped hundreds of mesothelioma patients obtain financial assistance through discounted medical care, legal options, travel vouchers or treatment grants.
In addition to those services, the organization has advocated for expanded Social Security benefits for mesothelioma patients and helped military veterans gather documentation to file or appeal VA benefits requests.
Navigating the VA System
Aaron Munz, a former U.S. Army captain who took part in Operation Iraqi Freedom, is director of the Veterans Department at The Mesothelioma Center and a VA-accredited claims agent. He has helped many veterans and their families navigate their way through the cumbersome VA system when filing asbestos-related claims.
Veterans represent almost a third of those diagnosed with mesothelioma – a large portion attributed to the military’s longtime reliance on asbestos products. Munz and Danielle DiPietro, another VA-accredited claims agent, are key to filing disability claims. They know how it works, helping veterans find care both within the VA system and outside it.
“Asbestos.com helped us with getting through the red tape at the VA and getting the necessary forms for us. We would probably still be battling without their help,” said John, a U.S. Navy veteran and mesothelioma patient.
Advancing Mesothelioma Research and Education
A key goal of observing Mesothelioma Awareness Day is to remind everyone in the community that there isn’t enough funding dedicated to mesothelioma research.
In an effort to fulfill that goal, The Mesothelioma Center has donated more than $10,000 toward much-needed mesothelioma research. It has created a custom mesothelioma guide that has helped nearly 700 patients and families learn more about their diagnoses.
The team regularly holds webinars to help newly diagnosed patients and their families better understand the disease and treatment options.
In August, Dr. Snehal Smart and registered nurse Karen Selby – both longtime Patient Advocates – hosted an informational session about the latest immunotherapy treatment combination of Opdivo and Yervoy, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2020.
In May, Selby and registered nurse Sean Marchese of The Mesothelioma Center hosted a well-attended informational webinar on cancer pain management, focusing on strategies specifically for those with mesothelioma.
“All the people at The Mesothelioma Center are amazing. They were with us every step of the way during a very difficult time for our family,” said Donna, the wife of a mesothelioma patient. “They were very knowledgeable and were always available to answer our questions. We appreciate all they did to help us.”
Although Mesothelioma Awareness Day happens once a year, it’s a reminder that patients, loved ones and survivors are coping with the disease every day, while doctors and researchers strive to find a cure.