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Mesothelioma Support

Families affected by pleural mesothelioma need a lot of support to get through the experience. Building a diverse support system encourages families to overcome hurdles and promotes emotional well-being.

Receiving a pleural mesothelioma diagnosis can send patients and their loved ones into a state of shock. It can feel difficult to move out of this state and into action, but a strong support system can help.

Families facing a pleural mesothelioma diagnosis need different types of support such as:

Those needing help building a support system should work with a patient advocate or social worker. These professionals can help you develop a team of friends, family, neighbors and community members to support you through pleural mesothelioma treatment and recovery.

Emotional Support for Patients and Loved Ones

Emotional support is essential to nurture the mental health of people affected by pleural mesothelioma.

According to the National Cancer Institute, about 25 percent of cancer survivors experience symptoms of depression and 45 percent experience anxiety. Around 20 percent report symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Loved ones may experience anticipatory grief or delayed grief. Anticipatory grief may start immediately after the diagnosis, whereas delayed grief may develop months or years after a loved one dies.

Patients and their loved ones benefit when they seek forms of emotional support such as counseling and support groups. Additionally, gentle exercise can improve symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Counseling

Counseling from a mental health therapist or social worker helps people face challenges and process heavy emotions. It is available one-on-one in addition to family and group counseling.

Some therapists specialize in grief counseling, which aims to support people as they move through the grieving process. This kind of counseling helps people accept great loss, process difficult feelings and move forward with healthy coping skills.

Another type of counseling that comforts many people is spiritual counseling. It is available through local religious establishments, including churches and temples, and in hospitals through chaplains. Hospice also offers spiritual counseling.

Mesothelioma Support Groups

Support groups offer a space for people going through similar struggles to find support, resources and encouragement.

Because pleural mesothelioma is a rare cancer, it can be hard for patients and their caregivers to find an in-person mesothelioma support group. Thankfully, online support groups for mesothelioma are available for patients, caregivers and loved ones.

Exercise

Regular gentle exercise improves mood and lessens symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Patients and their loved ones can encourage and support each other by exercising together. Consistency is the key to seeing benefits. You don’t have to spend a lot of time exercising and it doesn’t need to be hard or challenging to make an impact.

Taking a short walk a few days a week is enough to see benefits. You can consider all forms of movement as exercise such as doing chores around the house.

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Mesothelioma Caregiver Support

Caregiving for a loved one with pleural mesothelioma isn’t easy to do alone. It requires a lot of support from family, friends, neighbors and community members.

In building a support system, mesothelioma caregivers may consider:

Transportation and Lodging Support for Mesothelioma Patients

Many people with pleural mesothelioma need help affording transportation and lodging to access specialized care.

Only certain cancer centers throughout the U.S. have the equipment and expertise to treat this rare cancer. That means many patients travel far distances to get high-quality care.

Affording this kind of travel isn’t easy for families facing big medical bills. Thankfully, there are nonprofit organizations and travel grants to help patients afford the cost of travel.

Financial and Legal Support for Mesothelioma

Many pleural mesothelioma patients seek financial support to pay for cancer treatment. They also seek legal support to make end-of-life decisions and understand their options for compensation.

People with pleural mesothelioma may consider financial assistance in the form of Social Security disability benefits, VA benefits, long-term disability insurance, travel grants, treatment grants, trust funds, settlements and trial verdicts.

Lawyers who specialize in different areas of law can counsel patients on their legal options. For example, estate attorneys help families with end-of-life decisions and drafting wills, while qualified mesothelioma lawyers help families access asbestos trust funds and file claims for compensation.


Snehal Smart, M.D.

Snehal Smart, M.D.

Snehal Smart is the Pleural Mesothelioma Center’s in-house medical doctor, serving as both an experienced Patient Advocate and an expert medical writer for the website. When she is not providing one-on-one assistance to patients, Dr. Snehal stays current on the latest medical research, reading peer-reviewed studies and interviewing oncologists to learn about advancements in diagnostic tools and cancer treatments.

Last Modified March 21, 2019

7 Cited Article Sources

  1. American Cancer Society. (2017, April 10). Types of Support Services. Retrieved from https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/emotional-side-effects/understanding-psychosocial-support-services/types-of-support-services.html
  2. Livestrong. (n.d.). Transportation and Other Cancer Support Services. Retrieved from https://www.livestrong.org/we-can-help/planning-medical-care/transportation-and-other-cancer-support-services
  3. National Cancer Institute. (2017, November 6). Support for Caregivers of Cancer Patients. Retrieved from https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/coping/caregiver-support
  4. NCI. (2015, July 7). Cancer-Related Post-traumatic Stress. Retrieved from https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/coping/survivorship/new-normal/ptsd-pdq#section/_34
  5. ACS. (2016, May 24). Anxiety, Fear, and Depression. Retrieved from https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/emotional-side-effects/anxiety-fear-depression.html
  6. Chan, C.M.H. et al. (2018). Course and predictors of post-traumatic stress disorder in a cohort of psychologically distressed patients with cancer: A 4-year follow-up study. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29152719
  7. NCI. (2017, November 6). Support for Caregivers of Cancer Patients. Retrieved from https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/coping/caregiver-support

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