Making the Best Mesothelioma Treatment Decisions for You | Online Support Group

Doctor carrying clipboard talks to patient

Cancer patients are commonly bombarded with advice about how they should handle treatment and their health.

“You shouldn’t do chemo. My aunt almost died on chemo.”

“You should try this tea my husband’s friend used. He’s in remission now!”

“Don’t you know that cancer feeds off negativity? You’ve got to stay positive.”

Sometimes, it seems like everybody’s got an opinion about your cancer. They’re eager to share it, even if you didn’t ask.

Weighing all the advice in your mind may feel dizzying. Too much information can contribute to confusion. Considering all the fear people have about undergoing cancer treatment, especially for an aggressive disease such as mesothelioma, and a general lack of trust in the American medical system, it is tempting to heed the advice of those around you.

Ultimately, it’s up to you and your family to decide what treatment is best for you. Making treatment choices isn’t easy, but you’ll feel more confident if you’re fully informed about the type of cancer you have and the treatment options available to you.

Get Trustworthy Information

Anecdotal stories and advice from friends and family are worth considering, but what works for one person doesn’t always work for another. You’ll have to gather trustworthy information on mesothelioma treatment to make an educated and informed decision.

Your first and foremost source of information is your oncologist. Try to work with a mesothelioma specialist because these oncologists are on the frontline of mesothelioma treatment. They use cutting-edge treatments and can help you access innovative clinical trials.

Some cancer centers that specialize in mesothelioma treatment offer libraries where patients can research their specific type of mesothelioma and learn more about how cancer therapies work.

A number of long-term mesothelioma survivors combined complementary therapies with traditional cancer treatment, known as integrative oncology.

If you’re looking for trustworthy information on complementary therapies, the Society for Integrative Oncology and the National Cancer Institute’s Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine are good resources.

Once you fully understand your treatment options, you can hold informed conversations with loved ones to determine what’s best for you. Weighing pros and cons, talking about fears and discussing healthy coping strategies may help your family develop a plan that fosters confidence.

Questions and Answers from the April 2016 Online Support Group

Patients and caregivers asked a number of questions during the recent online support group. Here we include answers to one of them.

Q: I experience exhausting sweats that make me feel like I’m about to pass out. Is this normal?

A: Yes, it is normal for people with mesothelioma to experience severe sweating. Night sweats are more common, but they can happen during the day as well. Not all sweats are accompanied by a fever, but the patient may feel hot or warm. Call your oncologist if a fever exceeds 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

For some people, chemotherapy helps reduce the frequency and intensity of sweating.

Here are some tips to get more comfortable when you experience severe sweating:

  • Take a cool shower or bath
  • Eat popsicles
  • Avoid spicy foods
  • Use a fan at night
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing to bed
  • Keep an extra set of sheets available in case you need to change them in the middle of the night

Joining the team in February 2008 as a writer and editor, Michelle Whitmer has translated medical jargon into patient-friendly information at Asbestos.com for more than eight years. Michelle is a registered yoga teacher, a member of the Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine, and was quoted by The New York Times on the risks of asbestos exposure. If you have a story idea for Michelle, please email her at michelle@asbestos.com.

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