Asbestos.com is the nation’s most trusted mesothelioma resource
The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com has provided patients and their loved ones the most updated and reliable information on mesothelioma and asbestos exposure since 2006.
Our team of Patient Advocates includes a medical doctor, a registered nurse, health services administrators, veterans, VA-accredited Claims Agents, an oncology patient navigator and hospice care expert. Their combined expertise means we help any mesothelioma patient or loved one through every step of their cancer journey.
More than 30 contributors, including mesothelioma doctors, survivors, health care professionals and other experts, have peer-reviewed our website and written unique research-driven articles to ensure you get the highest-quality medical and health information.
About The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com
- Assisting mesothelioma patients and their loved ones since 2006.
- Helps more than 50% of mesothelioma patients diagnosed annually in the U.S.
- A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
- 5-star reviewed mesothelioma and support organization.
"My family has only the highest compliment for the assistance and support that we received from The Mesothelioma Center. This is a staff of compassionate and knowledgeable individuals who respect what your family is experiencing and who go the extra mile to make an unfortunate diagnosis less stressful. Information and assistance were provided by The Mesothelioma Center at no cost to our family."LashawnMesothelioma patient’s daughter
End-of-life Decisions about Medical Care
At the end of mesothelioma’s progression, some patients choose symptom management instead of curative ones. That tells a medical team to focus on discomfort and not on trying to kill tumors. Doctors may present you with this option or they may not. But it is an option you always have. Ask your doctor if palliative care would effectively improve your quality of life.
A 2021 research study investigated the main themes that informed patients’ decisions about mesothelioma treatment and clinical trial participation. When considering whether to pursue medical care, patients cared most about the physical implications, the impact on quality of life, the potential risks of medical treatment and how concerned they were about the future.
Patients should tell their doctors and nurses where they want to receive care. Some prefer to remain in a hospital or inpatient hospice program with 24-hour professional attention. Others are more comfortable at home, surrounded by family, friends and pets. If you choose home care, you will need to designate a caregiver, someone who can ensure your home can accommodate your medical needs and any particular new medical supplies (oxygen tanks, a hospital bed, etc.).
Other End-of-Life Decisions
A terminal prognosis often makes patients worry how their dependents will be cared for, how funeral and burial services will be arranged and how possessions will be distributed. Although this is an emotional time for patients and family members, planning ahead for these practical matters and reaching out to a mesothelioma support group helps make the end-of-life process much easier for survivors.
Patients should name beneficiaries for any insurance policies they hold; designate survivor’s benefits recipients from unions, employers or lawsuits; decide who will receive their final tax return; and decide what should happen to any investments such as an IRA or 401k. All of these financial decisions should be written into a will, which should be signed and placed in an easy-to-find location. Personal information – a patient’s social security number, vital records, account passwords and important contacts – should be stored in the same place. A trusted family member should be told where these documents are kept.
Creating a will is the easiest way to ensure that your finances will be handled the way you prefer.
Some of the things typically written into a will include:
- Checking and savings accounts
- Real estate
- Safe deposit boxes and valuables
- Personal possessions
- Business Assets
End-of-life decisions can also dictate what a patient would like to happen after they pass away.
Patients can consider the following questions:
- Who will care for my minor children and/or pets?
- Do I want to donate any healthy organs to an organ bank?
- Where do I want to be buried or cremated?
- What sort of funeral do I want, and how will it be paid for?
Mesothelioma patients often have the option of filing an asbestos lawsuit to help cover their medical bills and provide for their families after they have passed. These lawsuits are handled almost entirely by lawyers, allowing you to spend your time interacting with your family instead of worrying about a court case.
Preparing for the Unexpected
While planning is recommended to make any future decisions easier, late-stage mesothelioma can interfere with a patient’s ability to make those choices. To plan for this, a patient can give someone power of attorney – usually a trusted family member or friend – to make decisions for them.
Power of Attorney for Health Care
A “durable power of attorney for health care” is designated to make treatment decisions on a patient’s behalf. Patients should choose someone that they trust to make medical decisions in accordance with their own values and ethics.
A durable power of attorney for health care may decide:
- What types of medications should be given
- Whether or not life support should be used
- Where the patient should be treated
Power of Attorney for Financial Affairs
In addition to designating someone to make choices concerning your healthcare, you will want to specify who can make decisions about your estate. This person, a “durable power of attorney for financial affairs,” will not need to handle many – if any – decisions if you have a valid and signed will in place. However, in the event that your will is incomplete, challenged or invalid, this individual will be responsible for making financial decisions on your behalf.
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