Tips for Family Members of Mesothelioma Patients

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We know that many of you who read our blog are family members of mesothelioma patients, so we thought we would write a post just for you and discuss some of the things you might be  going through.

We’ve heard from a lot of family members over the years, and they’ve told us what an emotional roller coaster it is after you hear about a diagnosis to your father, your uncle, your grandfather or anyone close to you.

Here are some of the things others in your shoes told us:

There are Survivors

This is first and foremost. Although very few mesothelioma patients live longer than two years after the doctor delivers the bad news, there are survivors. Take hope from their stories. Plus, researchers are discovering new and better ways to detect and treat this disease, and a search for a cure in ongoing.

You’re Not Alone

When you first hear that a loved one has cancer, it may seem like no one else in the world can understand what you’re going through. While no one can feel exactly the same way you do, there are others experiencing similar emotions.

Participating in support groups, whether online or in person, can help you and others in the family understand all the emotions that come with a mesothelioma diagnosis. Talking with others may really help loved ones sort through their feelings.

It’s very easy after learning of a devastating piece of medical news to throw yourself into the disease. You research it. You look for cutting-edge treatments and doctors. You want to help be part of the solution. Others simply ignore the news and go on about their lives as if nothing is wrong.

These are all well-intended coping mechanisms. They’re just not healthy.

Find a balance between the two. Talk about the disease and the upcoming treatments. Ask questions. Comfort one another. Express your love.

It’s normal for family members to be concerned about a loved one’s condition, but it’s important not to be consumed by it. Family members impacted by mesothelioma should try to continue with their usual activities while balancing concern for a loved one.

Knowledge is Power

While it’s important for you not to spend all their time researching mesothelioma – everyone involved should be informed. Sometimes the unknown and what people imagine is much worse than the reality, so being informed about a loved one’s diagnosis will only help family members cope with the situation.

These tips barely touch the surface on how family members can handle a loved one’s diagnosis, but hopefully they’ve provided a glimpse into the fact that although mesothelioma is a rare disease, others do have it. And other family members are dealing with it, too.

Are there any tips you feel we should have included? Are there any in particular that have helped you?

Share with us and the rest of the mesothelioma community via the comments below, Facebook, or Twitter.


Nadia Persaud joined the Mesothelioma Center in 2011 as the Social Media Community Analyst. She is excited to be spreading awareness about asbestos safety and new developments in the industry with our online community. If you have a story idea for Nadia, please email her at npersaud@asbestos.com.

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