5 Tips to Help Patients Cope with Their Mesothelioma
Nicole Winch | February 3, 2021
After a mesothelioma diagnosis you or your loved one may have many unanswered questions. You might be wondering about treatment options, costs and what your possible life expectancy may be moving forward.
While these are practical questions to ask, it’s equally as important for patients to be mindful of what their lives will be like living with this cancer. Studies have found several ways that mesothelioma affects patients day-to-day:
- Physical symptoms (coughing, fatigue, pain, loss of appetite)
- Mental challenges (anxiety, fear, loneliness, uncertainty)
- Social Differences (changes to normal roles at home or work, social isolation, relationship changes)
- Treatment Obligations (time spent during treatment, traveling, treatment side effects)
Each patient will have their own unique experiences while living with mesothelioma. However, most will endure a combination of these challenges during their cancer journey.
Here are five tips that can help you or your loved one relieve some of the stress and discomfort caused by your mesothelioma diagnosis.
#1 Don’t Be Afraid to Rely on Family and Friends
A cancer diagnosis can be hard to accept in the beginning. However, having a strong support system by your side can make all the difference.
While you may feel like it’s a burden to ask for help, you shouldn’t go through this alone. Don’t be afraid to rely on the people closest to you. They can lend an ear to talk to, drive you to appointments, help with meals and be there when you need help making big decisions.
#2 Explore Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)
Traditional treatments like chemotherapy, surgery and radiation are used to extend a patient’s life. Oftentimes, their quality of life may suffer due the many side effects associated with these treatments.
CAM can be used to help alleviate many of these symptoms and improve your overall physical and mental health while fighting this cancer. Many hospitals and cancer centers provide various alternative medicine such as:
- Strength-Training Exercise
#3 Talk to your Doctor About Palliative Care
Physical discomfort can be one of the most difficult things about living with mesothelioma. Many patients associate palliative care with end-of-life treatment. However, this is not always the case.
Palliative care focuses on your comfort and symptoms rather than on treating your cancer. Your medical team should provide you with the best treatments while also focusing on helping you feel better during them. Some palliative care options may include:
- Pain and symptom management
- Counseling and therapy
- Reducing side effects
#4 Take Care of Your Mental Health
While you may focus primarily on your physical health with a cancer diagnosis, it’s important not to neglect your mental health. Your doctor or mesothelioma specialist can refer you to a therapist or counselor that is experienced with cancer patients.
Talking with a professional can be a great way to process and manage some of the difficult emotions you may be feeling. Joining a cancer support group can also be a beneficial way to meet people in similar positions.
#5 Utilize the Mesothelioma Resources Available
There are many organizations and resources that you can utilize during this difficult time. They can help you ease some of the pressures in a variety of ways. Some of these resources include:
- Health insurance, medicare or the Veterans Administration for paying medical bills
- Nonprofit groups that provide financial assistance and other resources for cancer patients
- Mesothelioma lawyers for legal assistance
At BCBH Law, we understand that a cancer diagnosis can take a toll on you and your family. Our lawyers are here to help you receive some much needed compensation for your mesothelioma. Contact one of our experienced attorneys today to see what financial options you may qualify for.
- Living with mesothelioma. A literature reviewEur. J. Cancer Care. 19(4), 458-68. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19832887/. Accessed: 02/01/21.
- Palliative Care in Cancer.National Cancer Institute. Retrieved from: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/advanced-cancer/care-choices/palliative-care-fact-sheet. Accessed: 02/01/21.