Coping > Physical Coping with Mesothelioma

Although you cannot change your mesothelioma diagnosis, it is sometimes easier to face if you learn as much as you can about your illness and become your own advocate. You can begin by discussing mesothelioma with your doctor or by doing research at the library or on the Internet. Some available resources are: Mesothelioma Web at 1-877-367-6376 (Toll Free) or at, the National Cancer Institute at 1-800-4-CANCER or at, or the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 or at Since the world of cancer treatment changes daily, it is important that you have the most up-to-date information possible on treatment options that may be available to you. By taking control of the situation, you can be assured that you will be the one making decisions about your care rather than having someone else make those decisions for you. Following are some ways to be proactive in your medical care and to maintain control of your life.

  • As mentioned above, have your doctor explain about malignant mesothelioma. If your primary physician is not a specialist, ask about a referral to a doctor who is. Find out the cell type and stage of your illness. This information is important relative to what treatment options you might have.
  • Each time you have an appointment with a member of your health care team, take a written list of any questions or concerns you have regarding your care or treatment. This is also a good time to discuss any symptoms you might be experiencing. You should never feel a question, concern or symptom is not worth bringing to the attention of your doctor.
  • If possible, bring a family member or friend along with you to appointments. Having someone else there can not only lend support, but can be an extra pair of ears as well.
  • Take notes when your doctor is discussing treatment options or medications he may be prescribing for you. When making decisions about treatment, it is important to be advised of the pros and cons of each treatment possibility, including risk factors, side effects, potential response and quality of life. Ask if the doctor has any written materials on the subject you might take with you.
  • If your doctor tells you something you don’t understand, ask him or her to explain it in more simple terms. Also keep in mind that you will be signing a consent form prior to treatment, so be sure you have a complete understanding of everything involved.
  • Ask your doctor if you can record important information. Having this information recorded in real time will make it easier to communicate information to family members who may not have been able to accompany you to an appointment.

Other coping with mesothelioma resources:

Emotions and a Mesothelioma Diagnosis

How Mesothelioma Affects the Family

People Who Can Help You Cope

Treating the Side Effects of Chemotherapy

Massage Therapy for Cancer Patients

Free Information Packet on Mesothelioma

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