Mesothelioma is a challenging disease to manage. Many people diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer do not know what to expect. You may have had an idea of how this disease will impact your body, but there is a good chance you were not prepared for it. There are many ways mesothelioma diagnosis affects you, and not only can this be challenging physically and mentally, but financially as well.
It’s important to know the potential side effects of your condition. While every person is different and there is no way to predict how mesothelioma affects each individual, it is important to know not just the long-term effects of this disease but also the immediate effects. By knowing what to expect as far as sensation, mobility, and pain go, you’ll be better prepared for how to treat and manage your symptoms.
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What is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops in the mesothelial cells. These cells line the surfaces of many internal organs, including the lungs, heart, and abdomen. It causes the organ lining to stick together, affecting body functions and resulting in symptoms like shortness of breath, chest pain or tightness, cough, and lethargy.
Mesothelioma is considered an environmental disease caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos fibers are present in almost all industrial products, including insulation for buildings and ships, brake linings for cars, cement pipes, and roof tiles. The most common cause of mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos during work activities like working in industries or from secondhand exposure at home or school. Amongst other workers, statistics show that U.S military veterans mesothelioma is on the rise and accounts for 30% of all diagnosed patients. This is because of what they are exposed to in war zones.
Effects of mesothelioma on your life
A mesothelioma diagnosis can be one of the most difficult things an individual will ever face. While it provides a timeline for living, that time is not guaranteed. As many have already stated, one of the biggest worries patients face is how a mesothelioma diagnosis affects their lives. This can mean different things to different people. It’s important to remember that no matter what course your life takes with this particular disease, there are some things you can do along the way to make it better and easier to manage. There are many ways a mesothelioma diagnosis will affect your life, but with the right attitude and some outside help, you should have no issue weathering this storm.
A mesothelioma diagnosis can have a major financial impact. Patients may need to stop working and incur significant medical expenses. In addition, workers’ compensation benefits may not cover all of these costs. Your employer’s health insurance plan will likely cover some of the costs associated with your treatment. However, there may be gaps in coverage or limitations on how much your insurance will pay out in total costs each year
The costs associated with treatment vary depending on the type of treatment required and whether you opt for surgery or chemotherapy alone or both types of treatments combined.
Several treatment options are available for mesothelioma, but they are all expensive and not always effective. Surgery can involve removing part of the lung or the entire lung. Chemotherapy is also used to slow down tumor growth or reduce symptoms. Radiation therapy may be recommended if surgery isn’t possible due to other medical conditions or when chemotherapy doesn’t work well enough on its own. A combination of radiation therapy and chemotherapy is often used as an alternative treatment plan for patients diagnosed with advanced-stage mesothelioma.
The disease itself is extremely excruciating, and the treatment can be prolonged depending on the severity of the disease! Mesothelioma can cause pain, fatigue, and other symptoms that significantly reduce patients’ quality of life.
3. Mental Health
A mesothelioma diagnosis can be life-changing. It’s not only important to consider the physical health effects of this diagnosis, but also how it will affect your mental health. The psychological effects are often overlooked when discussing the disease and its treatment options. The fear of developing cancer can be overwhelming, and there’s no reason to suffer alone.
The mental health effects of mesothelioma can range from mild anxiety to severe depression and even suicide. Patients diagnosed with the disease often experience feelings of isolation, fear, and uncertainty about their future health. The emotional toll of having a terminal illness like mesothelioma can be overwhelming for patients and their loved ones alike.
4. Family and friends
Many patients find that their relationships with friends and family members change after receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis. Some people no longer feel comfortable around their loved ones due to anxiety about having tough conversations. Others may be too tired or weak to spend time with friends and family members, leading to feelings of isolation and depression.
Your loved ones may not know how to react when they hear the news about your diagnosis. They may avoid talking about it altogether or tell you that everything will be okay when they don’t believe it themselves. If someone does say something insensitive or hurtful, try not to take it personally — just remember that this person doesn’t know what you’re going through yet and needs time to adjust as well.
5. Change in lifestyle
A mesothelioma diagnosis can mean big changes to your lifestyle. You may have to give up smoking, start exercising more, and eat a healthier diet. A dietitian can help you plan meals that fit your specific needs and tastes. Eating a balanced diet can help prevent nausea, fatigue, and other symptoms related to chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Your doctor may recommend that you reduce or avoid certain foods while undergoing treatment. Certain foods can also affect how well your body absorbs chemotherapy and radiation agents.
Depending on the severity of your diagnosis, you may need to take some time off work. This can be a difficult adjustment, both financially and emotionally. If you’re still working or going to school, talk with your employer or school administrator about what accommodations they can provide while you undergo treatment. For example, you may need more time off from work than is typical because of appointments with doctors or treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
A diagnosis of mesothelioma can be difficult to get over. You will have a new battle to fight against the disease and its causes, and the changes that you’ll have to make, in your life. You’ll have to do it all in a world where many people just don’t understand what it is or how it works. While it’s hard to predict how a mesothelioma diagnosis will impact your life, striking an optimistic tone helps. Enlisting the help of family and friends, making a list of the things you have to be grateful for, and engaging in hobbies you enjoy can help you cope with the illness. Remember that while you’re living – do so to the fullest!