According to the American Cancer Society, in the United States, mesothelioma is a rather rare form of cancer accounting for roughly 3,000 new diagnosed cases each year. If you have been recently diagnosed with mesothelioma, one of the most critically important actions you can take is to gather as much information as possible about the disease. The biggest part of the mesothelioma resources gathering process is family and friend participation. Don’t be shy. Ask for help, organize your searches, and encourage feedback about what you have all uncovered. A group approach is always best so be open to requesting help.
Important Caveats About Mesothelioma Resources
- Doctors: Although it seems obvious, but the very first step you should take if you believe you have been exposed to asbestos and you are experiencing mesothelioma symptoms, is to consult with your doctor. Do not attempt to self-diagnose your condition! Your doctor can provide you a list of oncology and mesothelioma specialists if your condition is beyond their scope of expertise. But always take the first step in consulting a trained medical professional
- Legitimate Resources: Unfortunately to the consternation of medical professionals and legal professionals, who do their best to help asbestos victims, a number of mesothelioma resource websites, and the organizations behind them, on the internet are deceptive. A vast number of these websites that claim to be public service non-profit organizations helping patients and their families are actually law firms attempting to disguise who they are while trying to lure new patient- clients to their firm.
Fortunately, there are a number of legitimate mesothelioma resource websites published by law firms with the distinct goal of helping people by providing information and experience. These sites plainly state they are sponsored by or maintained through the support of a law firm. And unlike their illegitimate counterparts, these legitimate organizations do not attempt to hide their true identities and motives.
Mesothelioma Resources That Work for You
- Cantria (Cantria.com): Cantria’s mantra is “Making Cancer Irrelevant” and they are taking action to do this by searching for and connecting cancer patients with cancer clinical trials throughout the country. Simply put, Cantria is an organization of cancer survivors, doctors, advocates, and drug development experts focused on patient outcomes. They communicate and collaborate with cancer industry stakeholders and the medical community to design, plan and execute cutting-edge cancer research.
- American Cancer Society (Cancer.org): One of the biggest and best resources for information about cancer. Utilize the internal search feature by typing “mesothelioma cancer” and up pops over 1,000 articles and medical papers on the disease. Everything from definitions of each type of mesothelioma cancer, treatment, and research all the way to diagnosis
- National Cancer Institute (Cancer.gov): Housed within the United States’ colossal National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Cancer Institute (NCI) is the official health and medical research part of the Department of Health and Human Services. One of the NCI’s most critical missions is to collect and distribute breaking news and the latest information about cancer and cancer research. Using the NCI search feature you can type in “mesothelioma cancer” and 12,416 mesothelioma topics return. These topics vary from the latest clinical trials to the current government-approved drugs for mesothelioma and so much more
- American Lung Association’s Facing Lung Cancer (Lungforce.org): This website is affiliated with the esteemed American Lung Association. This lung cancer-specific site offers help for every stage of lung cancer and in depth descriptions of your treatment options. They also support a lung cancer telephone helpline and an interactive library. If you are more interested in background information on mesothelioma, the American Lung Association site is the better resource
- American Lung Association (Lung.org): This organization supports five strategic goals: defeat lung cancer; improve the air we breathe; reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases; and to increase fundraising and enhance organizational effectiveness. Typing “mesothelioma” into the American Lung Association’s search feature produces 43 relevant topics about the disease, treatment, FAQs for doctors, and a number of treatment subjects
- Cancer Support Community (Cancersupportcommunity.org): “So that no one faces cancer alone” is the tagline for this nonprofit organization that provides emotional support for those with cancer and their families. Their mission statement reads: “As the largest professionally led nonprofit network of cancer support worldwide, the Cancer Support Community (CSC) is dedicated to ensuring that all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action and sustained by community. CSC achieves its mission through three areas: direct service delivery, research and advocacy.” It offers a menu of support tools and resources such as free online chat and a toll-free telephone hotline staffed with CSC counselors as well as information on local cancer support groups
- Cooking With Cancer (Cookingwithcancer.org): They publish recipes that have been researched and tested on patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation. Cooking with Cancer was founded by an oncologist who enrolled in culinary school to combine the art of cooking with what he knew about the changes in taste and smell in patients with cancer. The site also provides cooking videos for many recipes. Their mission: “Cooking with Cancer is a program designed specifically for cancer care of those persons who are afflicted with cancer, care givers of the patients, and all of those who work in the healthcare industry.” Some of the goals they have set and achieved include: developing a taste and smell lab; funding of research into how a cancer patient’s tastes change and why; and providing scholarships designed to offer career change “oriented to the catering of patients cooking during training sessions.”
- CancerCare® (Cancercare.org): A powerful one-stop shop, CancerCare® is “dedicated to providing free, professional support services including counseling, support groups, educational workshops, publications and financial assistance to anyone affected by cancer. All CancerCare® services are provided by oncology social workers and world-leading cancer experts.” Included are stories for help and hope, Q&A areas, videos to support material, a search feature by diagnosis or topic, and different methods to give back to the cancer community
- Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (MARF): Approved by the National Cancer Institute, this organization is a national non-profit dedicated to ending mesothelioma through funding research, supporting federal funding for mesothelioma research, and continuing an ongoing campaign to bring education and support for mesothelioma patients and their families
During your quest for answers to the many questions you will have, remember to give yourself the time and understanding that sifting through all the resources can’t be done overnight. Ask for help from family and friends, assign people tasks, and then sit down and compare your findings. The information you uncover will help you formulate a course of action and plan to take on the next steps in front of you. Remember to ask for help when you need it.