Mesothelioma Support and Resources
Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive type of cancer that averages 3,000 new diagnoses each year in the United States. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed, support is available during this trying time. In-person and online support groups and one-on-one mentorship are just a few options available.
Medically Reviewed By:
Patricia Shelton, M.D.
Medically Reviewed By:Patricia Shelton, M.D.
Mesothelioma patients and their caregivers do not have to face these challenges alone. An abundance of support is available for mesothelioma patients, caregivers, families, and friends.
Coping with a Mesothelioma Diagnosis
A mesothelioma diagnosis raises a combination of questions and fears. Patients face painful treatment side effects with a potentially short life expectancy. Caregivers may become overwhelmed as they attempt to remain strong for the patient’s sake while processing their own emotions about the diagnosis and its impact on their lives.
The Role of Mental Health in Prognoses
Support groups can help mesothelioma patients feel less alone because they allow patients to connect with others who understand how they feel, perhaps better than their families can. Support groups help patients cope with treatment, find solutions for practical issues and provide an increased sense of hope. They have been linked to an improved quality of life and higher survival outcomes.
Caregivers also need support. Caregivers suffer alongside the patient. They are often family members or close friends who are not professional caregivers. They may feel helpless watching their loved one suffer painful symptoms and side effects. Their financial situation may change as they have to miss days at work or sacrifice employment altogether.
They face burnout and overwhelm as they direct their attention to the patient’s needs while placing their own on the back burner. They may experience changes in their physical and mental health. Fortunately, there are many support groups available for caregivers as well.
Local Support Groups
Online Support Groups
MD Anderson Support Groups
MD Anderson Center is a cancer treatment center that offers virtual support groups to all cancer patients and their caregivers. As many as 28 different groups are offered to allow all interested parties to find the group in which they feel most comfortable. While the center does not offer a mesothelioma-specific support group, it does offer the following on a weekly basis:
The Cancer Support Community
The mission of the Cancer Support Community is to ensure that everyone who is impacted by cancer is “empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action, and sustained by community.” The organization’s slogan is “Community is stronger than cancer.”
It offers online support groups for patients, caregivers and loved ones as well as opportunities to tell their stories, volunteer and communicate with friends and family members through their platform.
IHadCancer is a support community organized by individuals who are undergoing cancer treatment or have survived treatment where they share inspirational cancer stories, write letters to cancer and connect with each other.
Inspire is an online cancer support community for patients, caregivers and family members where you can post questions and answer questions posted by others.
Online Resources to Update Others
CaringBridge is a free tool that provides an easy way to set up a personalized website where you can post updates with just a few clicks. The site gives you control over who sees your page and allows you to see who views your updates.
If you are more tech-savvy, you can document your progress on a blog. A blog is just a website where you post periodic updates. Blogs can be used to reach small or large audiences. Blogging is an effective tool to build an audience and inspire others.
Vlogging is a video version of a blog, where you speak via video rather than writing your updates. This can be accomplished on popular social media platforms like TikTok and YouTube or through a blogging platform.
Blogging can have a positive impact on mindset in individuals suffering from terminal illnesses or chronic pain by providing a meaningful activity leading to more positive pain management and social connectedness. It may inspire others.
Unite to Support Awareness
The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) is dedicated to uniting victims of asbestos exposure and preventing asbestos-related illnesses like mesothelioma through a global ban on asbestos.
Every year, ADAO hosts the International Asbestos Awareness and Prevention Conference. The 17th annual conference will be held virtually September 16-17, 2022.
Educating yourself about your illness is an important component of your overall outcome. Patients who are well-informed are better able to cope with their illnesses and participate in their own care. This ultimately leads to better treatment outcomes.
Connecting with survivors is an effective way to start educating yourself. Additional educational resources include the following:
The Lanier Law Firm is a nationwide mesothelioma law firm with some of the most experienced asbestos litigation attorneys in the country. We help mesothelioma patients hold those accountable who exposed them to asbestos. You may be entitled to substantial compensation. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.