Mesothelioma Resources for Seniors
What is mesothelioma?
A diagnosis of mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive cancer, comes with considerable uncertainty. Most
doctors — and even many oncologists — do not see it enough to understand its intricacies, or know the
latest and most effective way of treating it.
Bringing clarity to the disease will spark much-welcomed hope for a patient and his family.
Mesothelioma cancer is typically caused by a long-before occupational and prolonged exposure to
microscopic asbestos fibers, which are unknowingly inhaled or ingested.
They become lodged in the thin lining around the lungs or abdomen, slowly causing scaring and often
leading to any number of serious health problems, including mesothelioma often decades later.
But despite the gloom-and-doom scenario most often heard upon a diagnosis, times are changing.
Clinical trials today are uncovering newer and more effective types of treatment, often harnessing a
patient’s own immune system to do the work. Therapies are becoming more tailored, chemotherapy
more targeted, surgeries more refined.
Resources for Mesothelioma
More survivors are living longer and more fulfilling lives. There are good reasons for optimism.
There are resources available to help a mesothelioma patient. Here are some tips for both patients and
- Find a mesothelioma specialty center with expertise in the field. Although it most often affects
the lungs, mesothelioma is not lung cancer, and needs to be handled differently. A top
mesothelioma specialist could mean the difference between a short and a lengthy survival.
Explore the idea of a clinical trial, where the latest therapies are being tested before getting FDA
- Consider complementary or alternative therapies outside mainstream medicine. There are
mind-body therapies, such as homeopathy and yoga, as well as old-fashioned remedies that
include herbs and anti-oxidants. Energy therapies, such as music, have helped some people.
They are most effective when used in conjunction with standard therapy.
- Join a support group. It’s hard to find others who understand what you are going through with a
rare cancer like this. If you can talk to others with the same cancer, it may be informative,
comforting and less isolating. They can answer questions that a doctor often can’t. The
Mesothelioma Center has a support group that meets by phone each month to discuss various
- Ask for help if you need it. Don’t try to tackle this disease by yourself. Caregivers, who are often
the patient’s spouse, try to do it alone because they are determined to spend every last minute
alongside the patient. Share the responsibility.
Caregivers need to care for themselves too.
As a patient, take care of yourself, both mentally and physically. Caregivers must find time to eat right
and recharge their batteries, even with a demanding schedule. The better a caregiver feels, the better a
patient’s care will be.
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