10 Things Mesothelioma Survivors Can Be Thankful for Today
- Health & Wellness
- Nov. 23, 2016
Every year, people gather on Thanksgiving to celebrate the year, give thanks and eat mountains of mashed potatoes and stuffing.
For many families, Thanksgiving is the chance to reflect on the amazing things that happened throughout the year. Maybe it’s a loved one’s career advancement or the welcoming of a new grandchild. Thanksgiving is an opportunity to cherish the things you love most — the things that help you get from one day to the next.
If you or someone you love is battling mesothelioma, Thanksgiving takes on a whole new meaning. Not only is it a time to create lifelong memories, but it is also a great opportunity to thank those who have made your life better through this cancer journey.
While no one is thankful for a terminal diagnosis, there is always hope for a positive outcome, a good prognosis and ultimately a high quality of life. The people and therapies that help make these happen are reasons to give thanks.
10 Reasons to Be Thankful
Whether its researchers working hard to find a cure for mesothelioma, specialists treating patients with personalized care or support groups providing patients and caregivers a helping hand, there is much to be thankful this season.
Every day, researchers are working to find a cure for mesothelioma. In the process, they are finding new treatment options that are extending the lives of patients and improving their everyday lives. Because of them, survivors are living longer than ever before, and for that, we are all thankful.
Clinical Trials and their Participants
On the quest for a cure, researchers and physicians set up clinical trials to help find the best treatment options. With these clinical trials, mesothelioma patients can find new therapies that may extend their life; in addition to hope for themselves, these patients are giving back to the mesothelioma community in a big way. We are so thankful for their support and for the researchers making the trials happen.
No one should ever go through mesothelioma alone, but given the rarity of the cancer, it can be hard to find other survivors near you. This is where online support groups come in. By offering the chance to connect with other survivors, patients can learn tips and tricks that helped other patients in addition to hearing stories of those who are beating the odds. The benefits of joining a support group are great, and because of that, we are thankful they exist.
Mesothelioma Support Group
Learn from others by joining our monthly online support group run by a licensed mental health counselor.
Many primary care physicians and oncologists are unaware of the latest medical advancements in the mesothelioma community, and that’s expected. Thankfully, there are doctors who have dedicated their careers to mesothelioma patients. They are the only physicians who are always up-to-date on recent treatment developments and clinical trials, can ensure a correct diagnosis and create top-notch mesothelioma cancer specialty centers.
Mesothelioma affects an estimated 3,000 Americans a year. Compared to other cancers and diseases, this number is relatively low. As a result, patients often go misdiagnosed or undiagnosed for extended periods of time. In some cases, patients are diagnosed with a more common cancer or a benign disease. When this happens, treatment options become limited. The best way to overcome this is with a second opinion from a mesothelioma specialist. On many occasions, a second opinion can completely change a person’s life.
Whether you are diagnosed with mesothelioma or a more common cancer, treating a terminal disease is almost always expensive. You can have the best insurance in the world, but treatment costs and lifestyle changes can change your financial state. Mesothelioma patients have additional options here. Depending on where you were exposed to the deadly asbestos that changed your life, patients and loved ones have a variety of options available, including grants, legal cases and VA benefits.
Survivors Willing to Share Their Stories
It’s never easy to share personal details about your life, but some mesothelioma survivors are willing to open their hearts and share their survivor stories. These stories can inspire those recently diagnosed with mesothelioma and people who have been battling for years. Hearing that someone battling the same disease as you has survived years passed their initial prognosis can provide hope to anyone.
Many physicians focus on traditional treatment methods — chemotherapy, radiation and surgery — which are all very important for treating mesothelioma, but that’s not all that can help. Alternative methods have proven to improve quality of life in a number of survivors. While some patients turn to things like turmeric or Essiac tea, there are also people who support the use of cannabis oil and medical marijuana. Regardless of what alternative therapy you may choose, it’s important to be thankful that there are other options out there.
As one of the most promising developments in the mesothelioma medical community, immunotherapy is the treatment on everyone’s mind. Perhaps Keytruda, the most well-known immunotherapy drug, is closer than ever to helping mesothelioma patients. Credited for saving President Jimmy Carter’s life, Keytruda may soon be available in a mesothelioma clinical near you. Immunotherapy continues to show amazing results, which may save the lives of mesothelioma patients in the future.
When diagnosed with an asbestos-related cancer, it can feel impossible to know where to turn. It’s scary. Everything is new. But there is one group of individuals who is always ready to help provide additional insight and connect you with resources to improve your prognosis and quality of life: Patient Advocates. As a free resource available for mesothelioma patients, caregivers and the people who love them, the team can help with a variety of needs. No one should go through mesothelioma alone, and with a Patient Advocate on your side, you never have to.
Cara is a childhood cancer survivor, daughter of a long-term breast cancer survivor, and she knows life as a caregiver. She is also a member of the American Lung Association's LUNG FORCE leadership committee, a repeat team captain for the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life and has the Social for Health Care Certification from Mayo Clinic and Hootsuite. Cara also frequently writes for HuffPost.