Cancer seems to be the scourge of our age – it’s everywhere, in a multitude of forms and types. From well-known types of cancer such as breast cancer, to lesser-known (and often more frightening) types like mesothelioma, cancer takes an incredible range of forms. If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it’s natural to feel lost, frightened, or even disbelieving. However, it’s essential that you not let those feelings prevent you from taking the next vital steps. Here are some of the actions you should take after your diagnosis.
Speak with another Doctor
If you’ve been given a diagnosis of mesothelioma, time is of the essence. This is a fast-growing, aggressive form of cancer, and prompt treatment is essential. However, it’s natural to be somewhat concerned about the veracity of the diagnosis. After all, doctors are humans and humans make mistakes. There is nothing wrong with getting a second opinion. With that being said, make sure that you consult with a mesothelioma expert, not just any oncologist. Despite some of the press it gets, mesothelioma is still a rare disease, and not all doctors have the experience and knowledge to properly diagnose it. A second opinion can be invaluable.
Find a Doctor to Treat You
The current survival rate beyond five years for mesothelioma patients is 10% due to the highly aggressive nature of the disease. Therefore, the sooner you start treatment, the better your chances are of extending your lifespan. The problem often lies in choosing a qualified doctor to administer your treatments, particularly if you’re seeking a curative therapy, rather than palliative care to help with the pain and discomfort.
You will have to decide if you want to undergo surgery, prefer chemotherapy or would rather undergo radiation therapy. Depending on how much the cancer has spread, surgery may not be an option at all. In this instance, radiation and chemotherapy are the only two choices, although a combination of several may be used. Speak with a mesothelioma specialist concerning your treatment options, their various pros and cons, and the associated recovery time with each option to choose the right path for you.
There are also several newer treatments and drugs coming to the market designed specifically for mesothelioma patients. These include options like Almita, which is a chemotherapy drug. Mesomark is a test that helps track the spread and development of this cancer.
Build a Network
No one should go through cancer on their own, and you need to build yourself a support network. The members of this network may be friends and family, but many patients find it more helpful to seek support elsewhere. There are numerous support groups for cancer patients and survivors, including mesothelioma patients.
You will need more than just mental and spiritual support, though. You will find that you need physical assistance with things that you could once do on your own without a problem. Depending on the course of treatment you choose, you could find that things as simple as driving yourself to the store or the doctor’s office are now exhausting or even impossible to do. If friends and family cannot provide all the support you need in this area, you can consider hiring in-home care or companion care services.
One important member of your support group should be a mesothelioma lawyer. This cancer is only caused by exposure to asbestos. It was once an extremely common material used in a wide range of applications, from insulation in the home to fireproofing in the workplace. Many industries saw a much higher incidence of asbestos use, such as the shipping industry, but it was found almost everywhere. A mesothelioma attorney can help you fight for your rights and those of your loved ones you leave behind.