Coping With a Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Cancer CellsChristina Moore
Waking Times

Malignant mesothelioma is a rare cancer caused by asbestos exposure. It affects the cells in the mesothelia, the membranes that surround certain organs, such as the testicles, lungs and heart; they also line certain cavities, such as the chest and abdomen. A majority of malignant mesotheliomas start in the lungs and chest cavity, with the remainder forming in the abdomen, and rarely around the heart and testicles.

Signs and Symptoms of Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a disease with a long incubation period. It’s not unusual for people to be exposed regularly to asbestos in their 20s and not develop any signs or symptoms of the disease until their 40s or 50s. Mesothelioma is also a disease with symptoms that are easily ignored, which means it is often not diagnosed until it reaches the later stages, when it is more difficult to treat.

If you have been exposed to asbestos in your past and you are currently experiencing:

  • Chest, lower back, or abdominal pain;
  • Shortness of breath;
  • Unexplained weight loss;
  • Fatigue;
  • Swelling in the face, arms, or abdomen;
  • Lumps in your chest, abdomen, or testicles;
  • Hoarseness; and,
  • Trouble swallowing,

Consult with you doctor as soon as possible to get screened for possible Mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is an extremely aggressive cancer, with no cure. Getting a mesothelioma diagnosis can turn your life upside down, leaving you unsure of how to proceed. However, there are ways that you can cope with your diagnosis.

  • Get Treatment as Soon as Possible

    It’s important to get treatment as soon as possible after your diagnosis, because quick treatment can make the difference in how long you survive after your diagnosis.

    Ideally, it’s best to get treatment during stage one or stage two, however the disease stage is not the only factor that affects survival rates. The location of the tumors, the type of tumors, your overall health, and whether or not the cancer has spread to other organs, can all influence how well you respond to treatment. This is why it’s important to follow your doctor’s advice, and get the recommended treatment as quickly as possible.

    Talk to a Lawyer

    Asbestos is a dangerous substance, and there is some indication that the asbestos industry was aware of the dangers and health risks long before they became public. There are several asbestos lawsuits already in existence. Individuals who were exposed to asbestos, as well as their family members, could qualify for legal compensation for if they develop mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. This compensation could pay your medical bills, and could also provide for your family after you are gone.

    By consulting a lawyer, you can determine if you are eligible to file your own lawsuit, joining an existing lawsuit, or if you have to take other action. For example, if you were exposed to asbestos in the military, advises that you can’t sue the military directly. However, you can sue the asbestos manufacturers, or take your chances filing a claim to get disability from the Veteran’s Administration.

    Join a Support Group

    Although mesothelioma is considered a rare cancer, the number of cases is growing each year as people exposed years ago start to exhibit symptoms. Joining a support group will help you come to terms with your diagnosis by having you share information with others going through the same illness.

    Having a strong support system will also help you cope with the stress and side-effects of your treatment, any grief and anger that you might feel, and with the life changes and events that you have to cope with in the wake of your diagnosis.  There are also support groups for friends and family members, to give them the tools they need to help you through this difficult time.

    Take Care of Yourself

    Eating regularly, getting enough sleep, and staying well-hydrated can all help you respond better to  treatment, and improve your quality of life. While it’s important to eat healthy, because some of your treatments can affect your taste buds and appetite, it’s actually more important that you actually be able to ingest and tolerate what you eat – a salad might be a better option than pizza, but only if you are actually able to eat it. The same goes for beverages, although it’s best to avoid alcohol which can impair your recovery, and try to drink filtered or bottled water to avoid any contaminants that might be in tap water.

    Remember to Live

    Mesothelioma is a serious and debilitating disease with a fairly low life expectancy. With a diagnosis like this, it might be tempting to give up and lose hope. However, you could also look at your diagnosis as an opportunity to live in a way that you weren’t able to before.  It could mean reconciling with loved ones, or doing something you have always wanted to, but never had the time.

    Taking the time to live give you something to look forward to, and work toward. It can give you a reason to endure the treatments, and to keep going when you feel discouraged.

    ~~ Help Waking Times to raise the vibration by sharing this article with friends and family…

    No, thanks!