Mesothelioma Support Systems

Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that affects the mesothelium, a thin layer of tissue that surrounds almost all of the internal organs. • Pleural mesothelioma affects the tissue surrounding the lungs • Peritoneal mesothelioma affects tissue in the abdomen • Pericardial mesothelioma affects tissue surrounding the heart Pleural mesothelioma is the most common form of this disease. Two to three thousand people are diagnosed each year with mesothelioma. Most new cases affect white men in the fifty to seventy year old age group. Since this disease is insidious and difficult to detect, mesothelioma is usually in an advanced stage when first diagnosed. The average survival rate is one year. However, if found early and treated aggressively, chances of survival improve. One out of five diagnosed with mesothelioma is able to survive for five years after diagnosis and treatment. With new advances in research and treatment continuing to be discovered, survival rates are destined to improve. Significant breakthroughs have been produced by research for mesothelioma patients and more options are becoming available to manage life with this disease and improve the quality of life. Support is Imperative Still, a diagnosis of mesothelioma is devastating to the patient, family and friends. They must take the time to absorb the news of the diagnosis and to grieve and feel the emotions of hearing this diagnosis. Then it is important that the patient, family and friends regain a sense of control of the situation instead of the situation controlling them. They must learn everything they can about mesothelioma. They should turn to their healthcare provider for information to better understand this disease. They can consult the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the American Cancer Society (ACS). Both these organizations have very informative websites. Family and friends can help with everyday tasks such as getting to appointment, scheduled treatments and grocery shopping and household chores. The patient must learn to ask for and accept help if they have not done so in the past. Find out about support groups in your community. Sometimes only someone with the same problems can offer just the right answer to a question or concern. Online support message boards, such as the American Cancer Society's Cancer Survivor Network can offer solutions, while allowing the questioner to remain anonymous.

Reference: mesothelioma attorneys, Parker, Dumler & Kiely, LLP


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