Coping > People Who Can Help You Cope

Although you have always taken care of yourself, and may find it hard to ask for help now that you have mesothelioma, you need not be alone. Following are some of the people who can provide support:

Family and Friends

Family and friends can support you in many ways, but may sometimes wait for a hint from you before offering. They can be good listeners, help with meals, errands or household chores, accompany you to doctor’s appointments or treatment sessions or just keep you company.

Cancer Support Groups

While you probably won’t find a support group specific to mesothelioma, a cancer support group in general might be helpful. This will give you a chance to talk with others facing the same problems, and will make you feel less alone. A support group is also a good place to share tips with other patients on coping with cancer. In some support groups, the patients meet in one group and their loved ones in another; in other support groups, patients and their families meet together.


Many people find that their faith is a source of comfort, and find that they can cope better when they pray, meditate or talk to members of their spiritual community. People also find that serious illness changes their values, and that possessions or daily routines seem less important, while their loved ones and, perhaps, helping others, becomes more important.

Health Care Professionals

Most mesothelioma patients have a team of health care professionals such as doctors, nurses, social workers, dietitians, psychologists, psychiatrists and pharmacists who oversee their care, and each of these professionals has different things to offer.

  • Doctors
    Although most cancer patients will have more than one doctor, chances are you will see one most often, and this doctor will be the leader of your team. He or she will be the one responsible for coordinating the other members of your health care team. It is vitally important that you let this doctor know how you are feeling so you can get what ever extra support you may need from the other team members.
  • Nurses
    You will probably see nurses more than anyone else one your team. If you are hospitalized, they will check on your progress many times each day, and if you are at home, visiting nurses may come to your house to help with treatment or care. They can offer hope and support, and can suggest ways to talk with your family and friends about your feelings.
  • Social Workers
    Social workers are skilled in a variety of different ways to help you and your family meet your daily needs. They can help you learn about what is and is not covered by your health insurance policy, handle money matters, such as paying bills and help you fill out paperwork such as advanced directives or living wills. They can also assist in finding support groups and in setting up visits by home health nurses.
  • Dietitians
    Dietitians play an important role in helping you with eating problems you might experience as a result of your mesothelioma or of treatments you are taking. They can teach you the value of foods that are healthy, taste good and are easy to eat, as well as suggesting ways of getting the nutrients you need easier if you are having trouble consuming or digesting food.
  • Psychologists/Psychiatrists
    Psychologists can help you by talking with you and your family about your worries, and can also teach you ways of coping with your feelings and concerns. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who can deal with more serious mental health disorders, and who are qualified to prescribe drugs for these disorders.
  • Pharmacists
    Pharmacists are responsible for filling your drug prescriptions, and are also available to answer questions about how your drugs work, how often you should take them and what side effects you might experience. They can also warn you about the possible dangers of mixing drugs and about food or drink that should not be taken while on a certain medication.


Caregivers are the people who will be helping you with day-to-day living. They are often family members or close friends. It is important that you provide your caregiver with all information regarding your treatment and care, since they will be the one who helps you the most. Ask your doctor or nurse to discuss your illness and/or treatment with them so they will know what to do in an emergency. Following is some information you can supply to your caregiver to make their job easier.

  • Make a list of important phone numbers. This list should include the phone numbers of each member of your medical care team, family members, friends, neighbors and clergy. Keep a copy of this list next to each phone in your home.
  • Advise your caregiver of all medications you are taking. Make a list of all medications you are currently taking (and update as necessary) including the name of the drug, the dosage and how often you take it. Let your caregiver know about any possible side effects to watch for, and whether you have any drug allergies.
  • Tell your caregiver about important paperwork. Let your caregiver know where you keep papers such as social security information, insurance policies, advance directives, living wills and power of attorney forms.

Free Information Packet on Mesothelioma

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**(Packet includes information on treatment, clinical trials, cancer links, how to access legal and financial resources, and frequently asked legal questions with answers provided by Cooper, Hart, Leggiero & Whitehead, PLLC). By filling out the above form you consent to being contacted by Cooper, Hart, Leggiero & Whitehead regarding potentially retaining legal services.