Last modified: April 6, 2021
A mesothelioma diagnosis feels devastating to the families who face it. Everyone feels lost and overwhelmed at first.
You probably have many questions about treatment and surviving the disease.
We created this resource to support newly diagnosed patients and their loved ones navigate every aspect of living with mesothelioma. From here, you can find more information about mesothelioma, its treatment and the many ways you can support yourself and your family through this experience.
One of the most important first steps after a mesothelioma diagnosis is getting a second opinion from a mesothelioma specialist. These doctors have the skills and experience necessary to treat this rare cancer on an individual basis. They can get you access to the latest treatments and clinical trials.
Once your diagnosis is confirmed, you can learn all about mesothelioma and how the cancer is treated. We can find the support, resources and other help for mesothelioma you may need.
Quick Facts About Mesothelioma
- Average age of mesothelioma patient is 69. Source: American Cancer Society
- Asbestos bankruptcy trusts contain more than $30 billion. Source: RAND Corporation
- Estimated value of mesothelioma claim is $180,000. Source: RAND Corporation
- 40% of mesothelioma patients survive at least 1 year. Source: American Cancer Society
- Mesothelioma symptoms take 20-50 years to appear after exposure. Source: European Journal of Cancer Prevention
- Approximately 3,000 new cases diagnosed annually in the U.S. Source: American Cancer Society
Information About Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma primarily occurs in people who worked with asbestos for a long time. Some people were exposed through a family member who worked with asbestos. This is known as secondary exposure.
Symptoms: The most common symptoms of mesothelioma include shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue and weight loss.
Types: There are four types of mesothelioma:
- Pleural: The most common type forms in the lung lining and is called pleural mesothelioma.
- Peritoneal: The second-most common type forms in the abdominal lining and is called peritoneal mesothelioma.
- Pericardial: Pericardial Mesothelioma is rare and forms in the heart lining.
- Testicular: Testicular mesothelioma is also rare and forms in the lining of the testes.
Mesothelioma Treatment Resources
Mesothelioma is treated with chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapy. Clinical trials are testing new treatments including immunotherapy.
Diagnosis: Mesothelioma is diagnosed with imaging scans and biopsies.
Treatment: Your treatment options vary depending upon your type of mesothelioma and how far the tumors have spread.
Clinical Trials: Innovative treatments and new therapy combinations are tested in clinical trials.
Mesothelioma Support Resources
Support for mesothelioma comes in many forms. Patients are encouraged to grow a strong support system involving family, friends, neighbors and community members.
Consider the following resources to support yourself and your family.
- Wall of Hope: Visit our Wall of Hope to read stories from survivors of mesothelioma.
- Blog: Our blog features articles written by mesothelioma survivors and our news highlights the latest treatment breakthroughs.
- Support Group: Joining a support group offers a safe place to share your emotions and connect with other people facing cancer.
- Mesothelioma Awareness: People are working on raising awareness about mesothelioma to increase funding for research.
- Mesothelioma Cure: Doctors haven’t found a cure for mesothelioma, but they can put it into remission for a period of time.
- Mesothelioma Caregiver Support: Former mesothelioma caregivers Melanie Ball, Lorraine Kember and Linda Chitwood provide tips and strategies for those now in the caregiver role.
Another important form of support is financial help for mesothelioma. Treatment is expensive with and without insurance. Families can benefit from several different types of financial support including Social Security Disability, VA benefits, and travel, housing and treatment grants.
- Compensation: Mesothelioma patients have several avenues for compensation including trust funds and other legal claims.
- Legal Help: Mesothelioma lawyers help patients seek settlements and they can go to court on your behalf. They can also advise you on when to file to make sure you stay within the statute of limitations.
Resources for Mesothelioma Patients
Resources for Veterans Exposed to Asbestos
Veterans are disproportionally affected by mesothelioma. That’s because every branch of the U.S. armed forces used asbestos products until regulations were implemented the 1970s.
Additional Mesothelioma Information
A number of national, nonprofit and research organizations provide educational information, resources and other forms of help for mesothelioma patients and their families.
- National organizations, such as the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society, offer information and resources.
- Nonprofit organizations, such as the Meso Foundation and the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, provide educational resources and support.
- The Pacific Meso Center and the International Mesothelioma Symposium promote scientific research and allow doctors to collaborate on recent treatment breakthroughs.
Additionally, the U.S. National Library of Medicine provides a searchable database of clinical trials. Patients can visit ClinicalTrials.gov to find new mesothelioma clinical trials and view results of past trials.
No one should have to face mesothelioma alone. We can help you access cancer resources and build the support system you need to overcome challenges. The road ahead may be bumpy, but you can inform yourself with knowledge and support yourself with resources to smooth the ride.
Thank you for your feedback. Would you like to speak with a Patient Advocate?