Three Important Steps to Help You Prepare For Recurrence of Mesothelioma Cancer

Even if therapy has succeeded in reducing the symptoms of your mesothelioma cancer, you need to be prepared for a very likely chance that it might reoccur. This is very hard to think about, especially right after successful cancer treatment. But not being aware of this possibility could be dangerous to your long-term health. These are some things you can do and things you should know that will help you deal with the uncertainty of cancer recurrence:

1-Keep your health insurance

You probably already know that having cancer is very expensive. Your first cancer experience probably cost a lot of money. You may have had to change your work schedule or job status because of the side effects of a certain treatment. Your partner may have had to take time off from work to help you. These changes affect your finances.

Though money may be tight, keep your health insurance if at all possible after you have finished your first cancer treatment. You will need regular follow-up care for many years. Unless you are over 65 and can get Medicare, it can be hard to get medical insurance, especially if your cancer comes back. Insurance is expensive, but cancer treatment is even more costly. There are some options for uninsured people who need cancer treatment, but they are not easy or inexpensive. There are no "free" government programs to pay for cancer care.

For some people, going back to work after having had cancer is very hard to do, but they feel they cannot look for a different job because they are afraid to lose their health insurance. Although the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is supposed to help you to get insurance coverage when you change jobs, some people worry about the risk of having different coverage in their new job. Although employers are not legally allowed to discriminate against hiring people who have had cancer, cancer survivors are often afraid to look for a new job. They are also afraid to discuss their cancer with a new employer.

-Keep your follow-up visits with your doctor

While there is no guarantee that seeing your doctor regularly will keep the cancer from coming back, it will allow you to find any recurrence as early as possible. The earlier cancer is found, the better it responds to treatment. It is also reassuring to know that your doctor is closely watching you to be sure that no cancer is found. Continue to talk with your health care team. Let them know how you are feeling and discuss any concerns you might have. One of the greatest benefits you will get from your follow-up visits with your doctor will be peace of mind.

-Get the tests your doctor suggests

There are tests that you will need to have done as part of your follow-up after cancer treatment. These will help your doctor be sure that you stay in remission (without evidence of disease). The tests will vary depending on the type of cancer you had.One of the most commonly used tests to determine the progression of mesothelioma is the mesomark assay test in which the level of a particular chemical in the body is measured periodically.

As you can see, each follow-up schedule is different based on the specific cancer. Talk to your health care team about what your follow-up care is going to be, what is expected of you, and what you can expect of them during this time.

It is tempting to avoid following all the steps and tests required in follow-up. By the time you have completed treatment for cancer, you may be tired of being a cancer patient and just want to forget about this part of your life and move on. It is understandable to want to avoid tests and doctors that make you face the possibility that your cancer has returned. This is a natural impulse, but not a wise choice.

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