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Caring for Those With Mesothelioma

Legally Reviewed by Joseph P. Williams on April 26, 2022

Finding out that your loved one has mesothelioma is devastating. This terminal cancer diagnosis will result in you and your family making major lifestyle changes, such as becoming your relative’s caregiver or support system during this difficult time. If you are in a position to care for someone with mesothelioma, use these tips to make this task easier and more rewarding for both you and the patient.

Build a Care Team

It is impossible for just one person to provide all of the care that a person with mesothelioma needs – including medical treatments, doctor’s visits, medications, exercise, dietary advice, psychiatric care and emotional support. As a caregiver, family member or spouse of someone with mesothelioma, it is important to surround yourself with a support system. Build a care team with multiple people and professionals who can offer their services to your loved one. Your team should include:

  • An oncologist and mesothelioma specialist
  • A Life Care Plan expert
  • A mesothelioma support group
  • Other family members, friends or neighbors
  • Members of your community who can help
  • An attorney, if you wish to file a mesothelioma lawsuit

You don’t have to do this alone – nor should you if you wish to provide the best care possible for your loved one. You can avoid caregiver burnout by asking for help when you need it. Don’t be afraid to reach out for assistance with transportation, meal planning, medical care and other areas where you need support. Making caregiving a team effort can benefit both you and the patient.

Be Involved in the Medical Side of Care

Mesothelioma can come with more severe symptoms and side effects as the disease progresses. It is important to be involved in your loved one’s medical care as a caregiver. This will allow you to stay on top of doctor’s appointments and medications that your loved one needs as part of a treatment plan, as well as know what questions to ask his or her doctor if something new evolves.

Knowing the details of your loved one’s medical care can help you both consider all of your treatment options and have an informed opinion about how to proceed. Your loved one may be eligible to participate in a clinical trial, for example, to be the first to receive access to the latest drugs and treatments. Being involved in the patient’s medical care can also help you manage your loved one’s symptoms to make his or her end-of-life more comfortable. 

Don’t Neglect Emotional Health

Caring for someone with mesothelioma isn’t only about providing for their medical needs or physical care. It is also about making sure that they are in a good place mentally and emotionally. Dealing with a mesothelioma diagnosis isn’t easy. It can result in depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders in many patients. As a caregiver, it is your job to notice these issues and to encourage your loved one to seek professional help, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist or support group. You may benefit from these solutions, as well.

Take Care of Yourself

As the saying goes, you cannot pour from an empty cup. To effectively take care of someone with mesothelioma, you must first take care of yourself. Take the time to eat properly, exercise, get fresh air and give your body what it needs to cope with the hardship of being a caregiver for a terminally ill person. Take time off whenever it is available and get out of the house to help lift your spirits if things get difficult. Find ways to reduce your stress and have fun with your loved one, even if it is just meditating, journaling or taking a walk. Remember, there is no shame in asking for help. If you need a break, consider getting an in-home nurse or aide.

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