Mesothelioma support comes in many forms for survivors, caregivers and loved ones. It may include support groups, financial assistance, counseling, charities or a combination of these and many others. Keep in mind that help is available for you.Free Mesothelioma Support Guide
When you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma, it can be difficult to move forward. That is why developing a support system is important for everyone involved in the cancer journey.
As a patient, you may feel overwhelmed, scared and anxious. That’s completely normal. In these challenging times, it becomes important for you to surround yourself with those you love. By building a strong mesothelioma support system, you can nurture your emotional well-being, lower your stress levels and limit your fear of the unknown.
For some of you, support means emotional help, and that makes sense. Good mental health and positive well-being are crucial to survival. Key outlets for emotional support include mental health counseling, groups and therapy.
But you should also address your medical and financial needs, as well as those of your caregiver. These two types of needs are the most common causes of stress when dealing with a serious illness. If you seek help, you are more likely able to focus on what really matters — you and your loved one's health.
When it comes to your medical care, you can rest assured you are making the best treatment decisions if you build a well-rounded medical team. By reaching out for financial assistance, whether it is through legal action, grants or charities, you may also cover medical fees and additional costs.
If you double as a caregiver and family member, remember a solid support system is also essential for you and your well-being. Taking on this new role is difficult, and it is not something you should do alone. By asking for additional help, you can build a reliable network to help you through this challenging time.
Because the cancer doesn't only affect the body, there are a number of emotions you may experience: Stress, anger, confusion, denial and depression. As a patient or caregiver, there are numerous resources that bring comfort, peace of mind and an understanding that you are not alone.
Sharing your feelings or listening to others going through similar experiences in a group may provide you or your caregiver a much needed and sympathetic form of emotional relief.
Studies show people with terminal cancers who participate in groups have higher survival rates and increased quality of life. Local hospitals, therapists or cancer advocacy groups, such as the American Cancer Society and the American Psychological Oncological Society, host support groups.
The Mesothelioma Center also holds a monthly online support group for people like you who are affected by this cancer. During these meetings, licensed mental health counselor Dana Nolan leads a community of survivors, caregivers and family members with the goal of building a safe, judgment-free environment. Participants are welcome to share their stories and experiences while also asking any questions.
Share your story & listen to others like you.
Mesothelioma may be a rare disease, but you’re not alone in this journey. Groups provide a safe place to share your experiences.
Licensed counselors and social workers with expertise and training lead groups to help patients like you cope with the disease.
Studies show participating in these groups can reduce your anxiety, stress levels, emotional distress, fatigue and pain.
Support groups are not just for you. Your caregiver is often taking on a new role and may need encouragement while coping with changes in your lives.
Many groups share new resources that could help you in addition to your assistance from your medical team.
Depression and anxiety may accompany any life-threatening illness, and this is especially true if you’re diagnosed with mesothelioma. Depression is not just feeling down or blue. It is a clinical condition that may require treatment from a professional.
Clinical depression comes with a specific set of symptoms. Among them are mood swings, fatigue, feelings of sadness or emptiness that last for more than just a few days, feelings of helplessness or worthlessness and changes in eating and sleeping habits. Are you feeling any of these?
It's important to recognize symptoms of anxiety in your life and seek help. These organizations can provide some assistance to you or your loved one:
Experiencing grief is a normal response to losing someone you love. Going to groups or counseling sessions can make a huge difference in your life. It takes time to cope with the loss of a loved one.
If you are like most people who are struggling with grief, you just want to get your life back. When participating in grief counseling sessions, hospice staff or a licensed counselor can help you set goals for recovery and guide you as you work toward achieving them.Learn more about the benefits of grief counseling
The people who care for you as a patient face unique challenges that make it important for them to find their own type of support.
The experience itself can test your faith and character. While it is an honor to care for the ones we love when they need us, reaching out for help when you need it doesn't make your effort less valiant.
Some of the responsibilities caregivers may need help with include shopping for groceries, cooking, cleaning, paying bills and driving to doctor appointments.
While traditional treatment is essential in your battle against cancer, a well-rounded treatment approach can make a huge difference when it comes to your mesothelioma prognosis. This means you may want to reach out to a variety of specialists to complete your support team.
Even if you’ve already seen an oncologist, it's in your best interest to see a mesothelioma specialist for a second opinion. While this may sound like a lot of running around to hear the same verdict, it truly can impact your medical decisions because specialists are more familiar with the disease.
You do not have to do this alone. Our Patient Advocates can help you find a mesothelioma specialist at a specialty treatment center. With the help of our free Doctor Match program, patients can connect with local specialists in order to get the best treatment options at the best cancer centers.
By building a strong team of medical professionals and personal advocates, you will feel more supported in your decisions, and it will help reduce your fears.
Only a specialist remains updated on the latest medical advancements with the disease.
Given the rarity of the cancer, primary care physicians and general oncologists may be unaware of current clinical trials and recent developments. You can be assured a specialist will give you the best care to improve your prognosis and mental health.
It’s always important to get a second opinion when it comes to cancer treatment, and a specialist can do just that. In fact, a specialist is the best type of second opinion you can get because they will know about clinical trials best suited for your subtype, stage and other variables.Read about the nation’s top mesothelioma doctors
Diet, nutrition and exercise are key portions of your mesothelioma treatment plan. Traditional therapies, such as chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, can complicate eating patterns, likes and dislikes. This can lead to a variety of unintended consequences, including weight and muscle loss, that can hurt your overall prognosis.
While there are plenty of so-called experts online instructing cancer patients on what to eat, only an oncology dietitian or nutritionist can give accurate advice on adequate nutrition and exercise tips.Learn the importance of good nutrition during cancer treatment
Our Patient Advocates are committed to helping you with your questions about mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related disease. They can help you access a variety of resources such as:
As a free resource, Patient Advocates can make a huge difference for you and your loved ones.
When you are diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may experience a range of emotions that are difficult to understand. It may be worth your time to speak with a therapist or mental health counselor. A mental health counselor can provide in-depth emotional, social and educational support for you.Meet Our Team of Patient Advocates
When you are diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may experience a range of emotions that are difficult to understand. It may be worth your time to speak with a therapist or mental health counselor. A mental health counselor can provide in-depth emotional, social and educational support for you.
Some counselors specialize in working with cancer patients. They can be a great resource for you when it comes to coping with new and confusing thoughts and feelings.
It’s never easy to discuss end-of-life decisions especially when a loved one has just recently been diagnosed with a terminal cancer.
Despite the difficulty, it’s important to understand your options ahead of time. Remember that choosing hospice care does not mean you are giving up.
Hospice offers a variety of benefits such as constant round-the-clock care, palliative treatment, in-home assistance and emotional support. Also, it’s important to note that hospice does not have to be a permanent decision. If you choose to begin a new treatment, join a promising new clinical trial or simply leave the program, it is possible for patients to leave hospice care at a later date.Learn about hospice care for mesothelioma patients
When it comes to building a medical support team, one of the most challenging parts is finding the right doctor for you. Through our free Doctor Match program, you will be connected to a specialist with a personalized interest in your diagnosis. Just like other doctors, not all specialists are the same. Some focus on pleural mesothelioma, while others specialize in peritoneal mesothelioma.
Since the cancer is relatively rare, there are only a select number of specialists around the country. As a result, the waiting lists for some of these physicians are quite lengthy. Our medical outreach team can typically help cut through some of the red tape in order to speed the process for you.
When it comes to this disease, time is of the essence. As the disease progresses, treatment options tend to become increasingly limited. The sooner you can get to a specialist, the better.
We can connect you with a top mesothelioma doctor near you!
Certain cancer centers have established themselves as frontrunners in the fight against mesothelioma. These cancer centers offer a multidisciplinary approach to battling asbestos-related cancers.
Physicians and advocates urge people dealing with the disease to visit one of these specialized centers to learn about the latest treatments helping patients like you beat the odds.Learn about the top mesothelioma cancer centers
Treating any type of cancer or chronic illness is costly to you, your loved ones and anyone else who may help pay bills. Money should never limit your access to treatment. If you or your family is struggling financially, there are options like travel grants, free or reduced hotel stays and legal compensation.
Given the history of asbestos and the decades-long cover-up, you and your loved ones may be entitled to compensation. Companies risked the lives of millions by knowingly using a carcinogen. While no amount of money can cure you, and there will never be enough money to bring back a lost loved one, it’s important that you understand financial compensation is available.Learn about mesothelioma compensation
For years, companies neglected the safety of workers by exposing them to deadly asbestos fibers without warning them. Because of this, it is possible for some patients and their loved ones to file a lawsuit and receive money for the pain and loss associated with the diagnosis. It’s important you know that filing a lawsuit is time sensitive as these types of cases have a state-specific statute of limitation. It’s also essential you contact a qualified mesothelioma lawyer. Only a lawyer trained in asbestos litigation can get the financial support you deserve.Learn more about mesothelioma lawsuits
A large portion of the companies that mined asbestos or manufactured products containing asbestos, that negligently exposed thousands to a known carcinogen, no longer exist. Some went out of business, and others were purchased by other companies. Many declared bankruptcy due to the large number of asbestos lawsuits against them. In many cases, they established bankruptcy trust funds for patients. If you are eligible, a mesothelioma attorney can help you access this money, for medical expenses, lost wages or other costs.Learn more about asbestos trusts
Are you showing symptoms of exposure? You may be eligible for financial compensation.
You may find it necessary to travel while undergoing your mesothelioma treatment. Whether you are traveling to see a specialist, visiting a specialty center or participating in a clinical trial, there are grants and funds available to help you get where you need to go. Several charities support you and your loved ones with travel and housing needs.Possible Resources:
Even if you do not need to travel a long distance for treatment, additional help is available for transportation. CancerCare assists with transportation, medical equipment and child care costs. In addition, many local senior centers offer rides to and from appointments.
A trip often involves more than simply getting to a cancer center. There may be housing grants available to help fund your stay after treatment. In addition, a few organizations supply housing resources at major cancer treatment centers. One example is Joe’s House, which helps cancer patients and their loved ones find a place to stay when traveling for treatment.
If you are a U.S. veteran with mesothelioma, please know you are not alone, and more importantly, understand the VA will pay for your treatment. Military veterans are a significant portion of those afflicted with the disease. Because of the extensive use of asbestos in nearly every military branch, you and other veterans are disproportionately affected by asbestos-related diseases. It is estimated veterans comprise 30 percent of all mesothelioma cases.Get Help Filing Your VA Claim
Every day, survivors, caregivers and advocates are coming together to raise awareness about mesothelioma and the dangers of asbestos. They provide a special type of support by speaking out against asbestos. Survivors are able to reclaim their voice by making a difference in the lives of others living with the same cancer.
Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that receives far less attention than it should. By raising awareness about the disease, you are helping to reach others who may be unaware of its signs or symptoms.Get Your Free Awareness Wristband
Many people, including cancer doctors, are unaware of the symptoms, prognosis and treatments. Thankfully, there is plenty of literature available to increase your knowledge.Request Your Free Mesothelioma Support Packet
No two mesothelioma patients are the same. Each person diagnosed with the difficult cancer has their own story, including how they were exposed to asbestos, where they went for treatment and what medical professional helped to change their life. By sharing your story, you can provide hope and inspiration for others.Share Your Story with Us
As one of the most well-known cancer fundraisers, people around the country join forces to raise awareness and money for cancer of all types. Typically, events are held at local high schools and parks as an opportunity to remember lost loved ones, honor cancer survivors and fight for a cure.Find a Relay For Life Near You
The American Lung Association hosts runs and walks across the country that raise funds to support lung cancer research, education and advocacy.Find a Local LUNGForce Event Near You
When people are diagnosed with mesothelioma, they may not know where to turn. By becoming an advocate, you can make a difference in their lives.Join Our Facebook Page
I have just got on with the fight for life. I was so determined to beat it…I cry when I lose so many friends to the disease.”
Mavis Nye, Pleural Mesothelioma Survivor
Ultimately, the main goal of a mesothelioma support community is to find the resources that will help make your or your loved one’s life better. It’s not easy to battle the cancer, and you should not have to do it alone.
View our resources for patients and familiesGet Help Today