For thousands of years, humans have shared stories through speaking, pictures and writing.
Listening to and sharing stories is how we educate and entertain our children, bond with friends, grieve our losses and celebrate our joy. Sharing stories is how we make sense of the world around us and process new information to create our own personal narrative.
Many people find comfort and a sense of connectedness when they share the story of their wedding day, the birth of their child or a big career move.
Sharing personal accounts can also help us cope with traumatic life events such as the loss of a loved one or a cancer diagnosis. Events that have a big impact on us need to be processed and integrated into our new reality.
Research in the field of linguistics and psychology shows sharing stressful life events such as a mesothelioma diagnosis can benefit us physically and emotionally.
Until about 40 to 50 years ago, cancer survivors rarely felt they had permission or an opportunity to share their cancer experiences.
It was considered taboo to discuss a diagnosis with family members or close friends.
At the time, even mentioning the word cancer was considered socially unacceptable. Many simply referred to it as the “Big C.”
The rapid increase of cancer support groups in the 1980s finally allowed cancer patients and caregivers an opportunity to talk about their cancer journey and give and receive support from others going through similar experiences.
Newly diagnosed cancer patients are usually eager to talk to survivors who have already received treatment and experienced advanced symptoms and side effects.
We can share cancer stories orally or in written form. There are many benefits — and a few risks — to sharing experiences and inner thoughts and feelings with others.
Reasons a person may want to share their story include:
Are you or someone in your family a mesothelioma survivor or caregiver? Tell us how this cancer has impacted your life.
There are many benefits to sharing a cancer experience, but it is important to know potential risks.
As a mesothelioma patient shares challenges, fears and successes, they could face very personal questions, unsolicited treatment or diet advice or even judgmental comments.
While most people intend to be supportive, some mesothelioma patients have shared their personal cancer stories and not received the type of support they wanted.
Cancer chat rooms and support groups are a safe place to share cancer stories, as they are usually moderated by trained volunteers or health care professionals.