Mesothelioma Support Groups-How to Find the Best One For You

When you are faced with a diagnosis of mesothelioma cancer there are many resources are available for you and your family to benefit. You can seek for support from family and friends, as well as from health professionals, support groups, or your place of worship. Asking for support is one way you can feel in control of what's going on in your life, your need for support is not a sign of weakness.

You feel lonely and abandoned. You may loose your desire to continue living . If your are not getting the much needed support from your friends and family then find others who can support you. There are probably others in your community who need your companionship as much as you need theirs. The mutual support of others with cancer might also be a source of comfort.You will probably need the support of different support groups to help you cope with the diagnosis of mesothelioma cancer.

What are different types of support groups?

There are different types and formats for support groups, there are individual, group counseling and support groups. Some support groups are formal and focus on learning about cancer or dealing with feelings. There are also less formal and more social groups. Some groups consist mainly of people with cancers or only caregivers, while others include spouses, family members, or friends. Other groups focus on certain types of cancer or stages of disease like mesothelioma cancer. Some groups have their meetings over a number of weeks while some others meet over a longer period of time. Some programs no longer accept new members while other groups are still open to new members.

Health professionals (a social worker, nurse, or other licensed professional), trained facilitators, or a group member may lead the group. The leader of a group should have some type of training before taking charge of a support group.

Telephone counseling groups

For those who cannot attend meetings or appointments, counseling over the telephone is offered by organizations such as Cancer Care, Inc. Some people may find online support groups helpful because they like the privacy. It may be comforting to chat with other people facing situations much like yours. But keep in mind that chat rooms and message boards are not the best source of cancer information, especially if they are not monitored by trained professionals or experts.

No matter what kind of group it is, everyone taking part should feel comfortable in the group and with the facilitator. If you have any fears or uncertainties before entering a group, try to discuss them with the group's facilitator ahead of time.

Along with support programs, other means of support may be available in your community such as:
• Home health nursing services
• Social services, such as counseling and financial aid
• Nutrition services that provide meals or allow you to talk with a registered dietitian
• Rehabilitation services provided by physical and occupational therapists
• Spiritual services from chaplains or religious figures in the community
Support in any form allows you to talk about your feelings and develop skills to cope with the changes taking place in your life. Some studies have found that people who go to support groups have an improved quality of life, including better sleep and appetite.

Self-help groups

Self-help groups are most often run by non-professionals who have been through the same kinds of problems or crises. The people in these groups can relate to your experience firsthand and often have treatment-related tips and advice that may help you. For example, they may offer a home remedy that helped with their nausea, or know where to get the best prices on wigs and turbans. If their family members are not in the group, patients are free to express exactly how they feel. Family members can also benefit from sharing their feelings, fears, and anxieties with other families affected by mesothelioma cancer.

Self-help groups also give people recovering or who are long term survivors of mesothelioma cancer help others with the cancer. With some training, many people with cancer have found that helping others makes them feel better about themselves. They may go on to become group counselors or facilitators.

Choosing when to take part in a support group is important. Some find it difficult to join a support group when they are first diagnosed. The stories that other patients may share, after months or even years of treatment, can be overwhelming and upsetting. If you try a group and it doesn't feel right, you may want to try again later or try another group.


Religion can be a source of strength for some people. Some find new faith when diagnosed with cancer. Others find their cancer experience strengthens their existing faith or their faith gives them newfound strength and hope. Others who have never had strong religious beliefs may not feel an urge to turn to religion at this time. A minister, rabbi, other leader of your faith, or a trained pastoral counselor can help you find spiritual support. Some members of the clergy are specially trained to minister to people with cancer and their families. Some hospitals also have chaplains available.

Ask your health care team about the resources available at your hospital. You can also contact your American Cancer Society to find out about sources of support that are available in your community.

Bello Kamorudeen.


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