Mesothelioma Patient Support
Family and friends are always important when you have mesothelioma,
but you may also find it beneficial to be in contact with others
who share similar challenges. It has been shown that emotional support
and open patient discussion of issues helps cancer patients' quality
There are different categories of support. First and foremost do not underestimate the importance of support from family and friends. Human connections in difficult times become even more important and precious, especially with people with whom you are close. You may want to consider counseling, whether individual, couples or family, as a way to help deal with emotions like anger or sadness and concern about the future. This counseling can also help communications among family members.
In addition to family and friends, mesothelioma patients should consider a number of possible support services:
- Religious Leaders: Members of the clergies of many faiths are trained to deal with the concerns of mesothelioma patients: pain, fear of death, feeling alone, and searching for meaning.
- Home Care Services: State and local governments offer many services useful after cancer treatment. A nurse or physical therapist may be able to come to your home. Check the phone book for non-profit and for-profit Social Services, Health Services or Aging Services.
When it comes to cancer or mesothelioma support groups, it is important to remember that different support groups may have different focuses and procedures. Some groups are facilitated by a psychologist or social worker, but the core of the meeting is the personal sharing of the members. Others are led by group members, and are referred to as peer or self-help groups. Some groups are designed to be educational and structured, others emphasize emotional support and shared experience. The key is in finding a group that matches your needs
Support group dynamics
It is normal to be hesitant about sharing personal issues with a group
of strangers, but it is important to remember that support groups
are designed to provide a confidential atmosphere where patients can
openly exchange information about their illness and the emotional
ramifications of cancer, as well as practical issues such as how to
manage the side effects of treatments.
For the caregivers of cancer patients, support groups are also important in dealing with the stresses of financial worries and changing roles within the family. Some support groups are specific to the family and friends of those with cancer; other groups encourage family and friends to participate along with the patient. Many support groups are free, but some require a fee. You may wish to see if your insurance will cover the cost.
Finding a support group
Malignant mesothelioma is a relatively rare disease which affects 2,500 to 3,000 people a year. Since many support groups are for cancer patients in general, finding a group with other mesothelioma patients may be difficult. This should not prevent you from joining a group.
- Support services at Major Cancer
- Travel to and Lodging at Major Cancer Centers
- Thoughts of a Cancer Patient
- The Association of Cancer On-Line Resources (ACOR) runs a mailing
list for people with mesothelioma - this can be a great way
to interact with others who have mesothelioma.
- Mesothelioma Web (http://www.mesotheliomaweb.org) - The most comprehensive overall site on the Internet for mesothelioma
The National Cancer Institute at 1-800-4-CANCER
The American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345
- National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO)
NHPCO's On-Line Find a Hospice Program - a useful on-line
tool for finding a hospice near you
Free Information Packet on Mesothelioma
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