Awareness & Research

Mesothelioma Treatment Decisions, Complementary Therapies and Personal Relationships | Online Support Group

Written By:
Aug 15, 2013
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Written By: Dana Nolan, MS, LMHC,
August 15, 2013

There are a variety of reasons why mesothelioma patients and their family members become interested in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) therapies.

Some have a lack of faith in Western medicine or in our current medical system. Others want to avoid the side effects or long-term effects of traditional cancer treatments like surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Believing in the mind-body connection leads some cancer patients to practice stress management techniques like meditation and relaxation. Other cancer patients struggle with the lack of control they feel receiving traditional cancer treatments and choose CAM because they want more control over their treatment plan.

Loved Ones Want to Help

When a loved one has mesothelioma, it is understandable to want to do something to help. Investigating treatment centers, treatment options and CAM therapies can be helpful to the patient at a time when they feel overwhelmed with their diagnosis and decisions.

However, many people with mesothelioma report that their loved ones can have strong opinions about which treatment options the patient should pursue. The reasons why these opinions can be strong is because of the concern and love that they have for the person with mesothelioma and fear of losing them to the disease.

Some mesothelioma patients have reported that they feel overwhelmed and distressed when friends and family members suggest or even pressure them to pursue different treatment options.

If you want to help your loved one with mesothelioma investigate traditional treatment options or CAM therapies, ask them first if they want your assistance. They may welcome the help if they feel overwhelmed with navigating the health care system or making sense of treatment options.

Or they may want to be in control of that research and their personal health care information. Accepting a loved one’s treatment decision regardless of whether you agree with that decision is one of the most supportive things that you can do.

Patients Need to Set Some Limits

If you have mesothelioma and feel overwhelmed by loved ones sending you information about your cancer, treatment options or you are receiving unsolicited advice about what you “should do,” it may be time to set some limits with your loved ones.

A good place to start is to say that you appreciate their concern and the information they provided to you, but all you really want is their support of whatever treatment decisions you make now and in the future.

Everyone with a diagnosis of mesothelioma has challenging decisions to make about what kind of treatment to undergo throughout their cancer journey. Accepting whatever treatment decisions the patient makes can make a huge difference in how supported and loved they feel as they fight their cancer battle.

This material was shared in the recent mesothelioma online support group.