Mesothelioma Support and Resources
Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive type of cancer. It averages 3,000 new diagnoses each year in the United States. Support is available to patients and their caregivers 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.
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.