If you’ve always been someone who wants to take action against challenges or obstacles in your life, you can feel helpless to watch an illness like mesothelioma take its toll on someone close to you. However, it’s important to remain committed to your friend or family member diagnosed with mesothelioma, as he or she will need your support to make it through the progression of the disease.
During this time, one area where you may want to focus your efforts is getting involved with mesothelioma advocacy and education efforts. This can allow you to make a positive difference in your community by spreading the word about the impact of mesothelioma and related cancers. Here is some advice and background information on how you can become a mesothelioma advocate.
Connect with the right people
While you might want to dive head-first into volunteer and advocacy work to support mesothelioma and cancer research, the first step is to connect with other individuals who have been affected by this disease. There are numerous support groups and informational resources that can help you deal with the sudden news of a loved one diagnosed with mesothelioma. The American Cancer Society’s Cancer Resource Center (http://www.cancer.org/index) is a great place to go for comprehensive information about mesothelioma treatment, exposure to ashbestos and ongoing research initiatives in this field of study.
For more personalized, one-on-one attention and advice, consider visiting the website for CanCare, Inc. (http://www.cancare.org/) or the Cancer Hope Network (http://www.cancerhopenetwork.org/). These organizations are dedicated to introducing mesothelioma and cancer patients and their family members with volunteers who have survived cancer treatment. These knowledgeable representatives can provide education on the diseases along with emotional support.
By spending time to learn more about the disease and hear the stories of others who have experienced the impact of mesothelioma, you’ll be better equipped to enter the world of advocacy and education. In addition to these organizations, do some research into local mesothelioma support groups.
Donate to mesothelioma research and charity groups
One of the easiest and most beneficial ways you can begin your mesothelioma outreach efforts is by supporting charitable organizations and research initiatives. While this disease has had a big impact on both the U.S. and world population, the mesothelioma community is relatively small and requires ongoing financial support. According to the American Cancer Society (http://www.cancer.org/cancer/malignantmesothelioma/detailedguide/malignant-mesothelioma-key-statistics), new cases of malignant mesothelioma are detected in about 3,000 people annually in the U.S.
Luckily, there are many research organizations dedicated to advancing knowledge and treatment methods related to mesothelioma that you can support. There are numerous groups that can benefit from your charitable donations, such as the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, which helps raise political awareness and fund studies into the disease. You may also want to look into education, advocacy and support services from groups (http://www.mesotheliomacircle.org/index.php/mesothelioma/mesothelioma-resources/) like the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Information Service, the University of Pennsylvania’s OncoLink and the Lung Cancer Resources Directory. The National Cancer Institute also offers an internet database known as the Physician Data Query. This unique website provides new information on advances in cancer and mesothelioma research, detection methods and treatments. Patients and families can also on supports groups and clinical trials.
Spread the word about asbestos
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for mesothelioma, and the disease can progress quite rapidly in patients. Because of this, medical researchers likely still have years to go before they can achieve positive results in detecting and treating mesothelioma in the earliest stages of development.
If you want to make a more immediate impact in the mesothelioma community, there are several other avenues of support and advocacy you should consider. For instance, the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (http://www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org/#sthash.4cS14q75.dpbs) is a group dedicated to raising awareness about the dangers of asbestos exposure, the primary cause of mesothelioma. Despite the fact that asbestos is banned in many industrialized nations around the world, it is still found in many areas throughout the U.S.