Your mesothelioma treatment is your new job. It’s something you’ve never done before and like with any new job, your mesothelioma treatment is going to need you to give it the best effort you possibly can muster. And as with most new jobs, to do well you’re going to need some support from your team and some good strategies.
Consider Mesothelioma Circle part of your support team. You can look to us for information on new mesothelioma treatments, how to optimize your current mesothelioma treatment plan and tips on how to live as fully as you can with mesothelioma.
10 Mesothelioma Treatment Tips
- Oncologists: See an oncologist who specializes in mesothelioma treatment. Mesothelioma treatment is currently undergoing great changes. New treatments based on the emerging science of immunotherapy are starting to become available. An oncologist who specializes in mesothelioma is more likely to be up-to-date on these latest mesothelioma treatments. A mesothelioma oncologist may also be better able to help you find an experimental clinical trial of new mesothelioma drugs or new surgical procedures if you want to go in that direction.
- Trust: Work with doctors you can talk to and trust. Regard your mesothelioma treatment as though your life depends on it because it does. An important part of that is being able to connect with your doctors. You want to make sure that you will receive care from medical practitioners who are respectful and considerate. They should be people who will be kind, professional and take the time to give you complete, accurate information in straightforward language about your diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment plan. They should help you make decisions about your treatment and be amenable to the type of treatment you want.
- Second or Third Opinions: Recognize that you have a right a second and possibly third opinion. Do not worry that your oncologist will be offended if you want to get a second opinion about your mesothelioma diagnosis or mesothelioma treatment plan. You have been diagnosed with a very serious illness and deserve to be certain about it. A good doctor will be supportive of your decision to seek a second opinion so you feel confident about being in his or her care. Contact your health insurance to help you find an in-network oncologist for a second opinion they will cover. Only seek a third opinion if there is a discrepancy between the first and second opinions about your diagnosis or the best course of treatment.
- Documentation: Write down questions prior to your appointments. It’s a good idea to keep an ongoing list of questions. Jot them down as you think of them in a notebook or on a computer tablet to take to your appointment. From your very first questions about your diagnosis to others dealing with treatment options, side effects and clinical trials, your need for answers will continue throughout your mesothelioma treatment. Writing them down as they occur to you will better prepare you for your appointments than relying on your memory.
- Bring Help: Bring a family member or friend to appointments to take notes and ask questions. Try bringing along a designated note-taker to your appointments. When it comes to doctor visits, two sets of ears are better than one. Having a friend or family member at the appointment can help you focus on what the doctor is telling you while your helper focuses on taking notes. Another benefit of bringing a trusted friend or family member to your appointments is that he or she can help update everyone else who is concerned about your mesothelioma. A tablet or laptop can be especially helpful to create electronic files easily shared. And then there is no worry about deciphering anyone’s handwriting.
- Smart Nutrition: Make good nutrition part of your mesothelioma treatment. Good nutrition needs to be a cornerstone of your mesothelioma treatment. That falls into two categories. There are foods and beverages such as toast, mint tea and popsicles that may help alleviate nausea you feel after treatments. There are others that can help provide your body with healing nutrients to power your immune system. These may include antioxidant-rich fruits, vegetables, and seafood such as salmon that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. With the help of a nutrition specialist at your hospital or treatment center, you can plan menus that include all the kinds of foods and beverages that will be beneficial to you.
- Get Help Around the House: Get household help after mesothelioma surgery for mesothelioma. If surgery is part of your mesothelioma treatment plan, it is important to line up household help for afterwards before you have the procedure. Healing from mesothelioma surgery once you are home will take time. It may take 6 to 8 weeks to get your energy back. Most hospitals will want to discharge you to a rehab facility but if you prefer to recuperate at home, let your doctor know. A visiting home health nurse is covered by most insurance plans and Medicare. Have a friend or family member pick up any medication prescriptions you receive so the medication is home when you get there. Hire house cleaners, dog walkers, gardeners and whatever assistance you need during this crucial time.
- Build Your Team: Build a team of healthcare professionals and advocates on whom you can rely. Your mesothelioma treatment will rely on a team of caring and competent health professionals. Besides your oncologist, you may need to see other highly trained doctors including a radiologist, a thoracic surgeon and a pulmonologist. But you will also need to have other professionals such as a social worker, nurse practitioner, a therapist and one of the cancer center or hospital’s financial planners for patients. Your team should not only give you the best mesothelioma treatment care possible but also care for your emotional and mental health needs during this stressful time and advocate for you with your insurance company.
- Alternative Therapies: Consider utilizing complementary and alternative therapies. You have sound scientific options for mesothelioma treatment, but consider trying an integrative approach. This approach lets you take advantage of all modern medicine can offer but also includes holistic treatment modalities that can aid your well-being. In addition to seeing oncologists and surgeons for chemo, radiation, and surgeries, you can incorporate acupuncture, massage, tai chi, qigong, yoga, and meditation and mindfulness into your mesothelioma treatment. These may help with physical healing as well as an improved quality of life.
- Support Groups: Join a mesothelioma support group to help you through your mesothelioma treatment. Mesothelioma support groups can become an important source of information and comfort during your mesothelioma treatment. Family members and friends provide loving concern but mesothelioma support group members are coping with mesothelioma just like you are. Sharing experiences and concerns can be helpful. There may be a mesothelioma support group that meets at your oncology center. You may also find an online group or a group that uses free teleconferencing services to get everyone connected by phone at the same time. Ask your oncologist’s office staff to help you find the right group for you.
Mesothelioma Treatment Tips and Ongoing Research
With the massive creation and distribution of content on the Internet on an hourly basis, the true key to helping mesothelioma patients throughout their fight with mesothelioma is to consistently look for information. Research on a daily basis and research based on what is occurring in each patient’s life could uncover breaking news or sources of new treatments you did not know existed. Similar to other strategies in asking for and building a support group, look to your family and friends to provide research duties in the quest for information.