If you are diagnosed with Mesothelioma, it is very vital that you contact a specialist with lots of experience in mesothelioma cases, because every Mesothelioma is different, and not all doctors have adequate knowledge and records of all types.
Having the right person handling your treatment can be a very big advantage on your side. Apart from having a good doctor, having a solid understanding of mesothelioma diagnosis helps you to be more equipped and ready for examination, treatments, and recovery.
It’s necessary to understand what is going on inside your body because it helps you build more confidence and eradicate fear from the process, which helps you to play a more active role in caring for yourself. Although there is only one approved treatment for Mesothelioma by FDA, there are lots of clinical trials that are open to mesothelioma patients. So having the right specialist that can help link you to the right clinical trial is very vital.
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What is mesothelioma?
Many patients ask this question, simply explaining, Mesothelioma is an irregular type of cancer that attacks the lining of the human chest or abdomen, on rare occasions, it might harm the testicles or the heart.
This cancer is commonly caused by asbestos exposure and it is named mesothelioma because it develops in the mesothelium membrane.
Patients also ask about the terms “testicular,” “pleural,” “pericardial,” and “peritoneal,” which are used in their diagnosis. These words are used to describe or refer to the various forms of mesothelioma and also describe which part of the body where the disease began.
- Testicular mesothelioma: this mesothelioma is always found in the lining of the testicles (as a swelling of the testicular ducts and glands).
- Pleural mesothelioma: this type of mesothelioma is found in the lining of the lungs and on the diaphragm .
- Pericardial mesothelioma: this type of mesothelioma is found in the lining of the heart or on the outer surface of the pericardium.
- Peritoneal mesothelioma: this type of mesothelioma is found in the lining of the stomach cavity (the surface of the momentum and visceral organs).
Patients also want to know the different types of mesothelioma cells. Which is also referred to as the “historical subtypes,” these includes:
- Sarcomatoid mesothelioma: this a more aggressive and rare type of mesothelioma.
- Epithelial mesothelioma: this type of mesothelioma is the most common and it is more receptive to treatments.
- Mixed-type (Biphasic) mesothelioma: as the attributes of both epithelial and sarcomatoid cells.
What Patients and family need to know about Mesothelioma
Being diagnosed with Mesothelioma doesn’t just affect the patient’s, it also has its effects on the entire family.
The entire family and closely related members may find themselves meeting with the patient’s doctor more frequently, describing the sickness to the younger ones or grandchildren, and handling the financial responsibilities that come with long term care and treatments of the patients.
All of this stress can be very exhausting for the caretakers, they are also support groups for mesothelioma patients and their families.
These are some questions we suggest you should ask the physician:
- What type of mesothelioma is he/she diagnosed with?
- How far has it spread?
- What are we to expect from having this treatment?
- Where will the treatment be done? And how long will it last?
- What are the possible side effects we should expect as the treatment progresses?
- How will this illness affect his/her daily life?
- What are the arrangements that should be made for his/her care?
As we advised earlier, not all doctors have adequate knowledge of this sort of asbestos cancer, so it is vital to contact a mesothelioma specialist, so you can get counsel on the best options, advice and treatment that you can expect.
Tips for handling someone with Mesothelioma
Having a loved one who is diagnosed with Mesothelioma often feels like you are spending most of your time waiting for lab results, doctor’s report, having appointments with doctors, or waiting for the treatment to begin.
Especially with more advanced Mesothelioma diagnosis like pleural mesothelioma, where you might feel like the future is totally out of your control.
- Do your research to find treatment services for you and your family.
- Consult your parent’s doctor and enquire how to keep the patient healthy.
- Don’t hide your fears by pretending not to be scared, but don’t dwell too much on your fears. You can meditate, pray and talk to people about it.
- Focus your energy on the stuff that you can control such as your well-being and staying healthy, eating right, and allowing yourself some quiet time.
- Identify and accept the things that are bound to happen, things that are out of your control.
Tips for Handling Yourself as a Mesothelioma Patient
Adjusting to the role of caretaker (caregiver) is often not an easy task, especially if you are a young person that is looking after an older parent or person.
The children of the patients usually find themselves catering and placing their parents’ needs before theirs, the requirements can be quite stressful both physically and psychologically for the children.
It is vital to look for ways to take off some of those pressures.
The National Cancer Institute recommends:
- Chat with your family, friends, colleagues or a counselor about the emotions you are feeling. You can also join a Mesothelioma support group.
- Ask for assistance with chores such as household tasks, taking out trash, washing, cooking, taking and picking the kids from school, or buying medicines.
- Create time to focus on yourself maybe for 15, 20 or 30 minutes daily, exercise, engage in yoga, read, watch TV, play chess or scrabble – whatever that helps you unwind.
- Don’t pause your life. You may no longer have all the time you use to have for your daily routines before your loved one was diagnosed, but you can still continue to be connected with the people that you enjoy spending time with or simply love
- Develop a routine that includes some of your Normal activities, even if you can put in as much time and energy as you used to do before.
- Don’t keep your frustrations about unhelpful family members to yourself. Everyone copes differently with bad news, and some people may not realize how much you need them right now. If you can, try to talk things out and tell them what you need from them.
Tips on Explaining Mesothelioma to Children
There is no easy or magic path to explaining mesothelioma cancer to a kid, your children will likely sense that something is wrong or off, especially if they are a bit older.
Explaining what mesothelioma cancer is to children helps keep them from misinterpreting or misjudging the situation, it also gives them questions and makes enquiries about what the future may entail.
Macmillan Cancer Support recommends these tips while explaining mesothelioma cancer to children:
- Be sure to have a sound understanding of the condition, so you will be prepared to answer questions that might pop up.
- Try to be real.
- Describe the situation in very simple terms that the child/children.
- Ask them what they (their perspective or view) know about cancer, this way you can easily erase any misunderstanding.
- If you and your kid(s) are relaxed or comfortable with it, you can then consider informing their teachers, neighbors and other parents about the condition so that they too can be of assistance to your kid(s).
If You are Dealing With Financial Issues
Aside from handling medical bills and treatment expenses, these caretakers may be faced with financial difficulty when the situation requires that they quit their jobs to look after a mesothelioma patient.
It is necessary to know that financial relief may be accessible. Mesothelioma is caused by being exposed to asbestos for a long time, you can request for medical assistance from the asbestos company that you work for, Patients and families can sue asbestos businesses for financial compensation for illness-related expenditures and damages.
Learn more about legal options and approaches, you can use to obtain compensation for you and your family.
How to Prevent Mesothelioma
The easiest way to prevent contracting mesothelioma cancer is by avoiding exposure to asbestos. This helps in reducing the risk, also wear safety gears and adhere to the safety instructions when working with asbestos or in an asbestos environment.
If you suspect the presence of asbestos in your home you can invite a specialist to come and check your home to see if there is asbestos or probably any damage that could be a risk. If you need to remove asbestos from a place, hire a professional contractor – don’t attempt to remove the material by yourself, as you could possibly contaminate your home.
If you have been exposed to asbestos, keep an eye out for symptoms and consult your doctor.