Mesothelioma survivors are living longer with the cancer than ever before. Breakthroughs in traditional treatments and integrating alternative therapies have helped mesothelioma survivors live on average 12 to 21 months following a diagnosis.
Finding out you or a loved one has mesothelioma can feel overwhelming, but you do not have to face this situation alone. There are plenty of resources to help you through this difficult time.
Since I was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma in 2012, I have found support from family and friends, as well as through organizations such as The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com and its online support group.
Many hospitals and churches host cancer support groups where people can meet in person. You may not find many people familiar with mesothelioma near where you live — I didn’t in my hometown in Maine — but if you search online, you will find an active community that you can turn to for support.
Learning from medical professionals, patient advocates and mesothelioma survivors will help you understand what steps to take on your treatment journey.
There is no blueprint to becoming a long-term mesothelioma survivor, but making certain healthy choices can only benefit your survival.
Find the Right Doctor: Go to a specialist with training and experience in mesothelioma treatment. Don’t be afraid to seek a second opinion. Ask plenty of questions to be as informed as possible about your health.
Protect Your Lungs: Avoid tobacco smoke and other types of air contamination.
Make Smart Nutrition Choices: Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein, and cut back on processed foods.
Stay Active: Do as much light exercise as you can every day, and keep your mind occupied with activities you enjoy.
Make the Most of Your Time: Do what makes you happy. Appreciate the little things in life that bring you joy. Try not to stress over things outside your control and treat every day like a holiday.
Facing mesothelioma is difficult for a patient’s whole family, and caregivers need just as much help as patients do. If you are taking care of a loved one with mesothelioma, don’t hesitate to seek out support for yourself as well.
Why Do Some Mesothelioma Patients Live Longer Than Others?
Surviving mesothelioma is an ever-evolving science. How long someone lives following a diagnosis depends on a number of factors, including the stage of the cancer, its location, how fast it spreads, and a person’s overall health, age and gender. Life expectancy varies from case to case.
Early detection plays a vital role in increasing someone’s chance of becoming a long-term survivor. The earlier mesothelioma is detected, the more treatment options a patient has. The development of new diagnostic techniques has led to more effective treatments.
A knowledgeable specialist can treat the cancer aggressively, increasing your odds of long-term survival. Finding the right specialist can make a world of difference with a rare cancer such as mesothelioma. Improved surgical techniques, better drug combinations and more targeted therapies are important to increased survival rates.
We feature inspirational stories on our Wall of Hope, including first-person accounts of how mesothelioma survivors are fighting and winning their battles.
Each survivor has a different story, but we all share something: Hope. We hope our stories inspire you and help you in some way.
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