Mesothelioma support groups can become an important part of your life as a mesothelioma patient. Family members and friends of course offer you their unconditional love and concern. But mesothelioma support group members are themselves going through what you are going through right now. That’s a very different experience and also very good to have in your life right now.
Mesothelioma Support Group Advantages
Shared Concerns – In mesothelioma support groups, you will find people who can truly empathize with you and share your immediate concerns themselves. You can discuss treatments, symptoms, side effects and other topics in a way only possible with other mesothelioma patients.
Reassurance – You will likely find that others in a mesothelioma support group have experienced things that you are experiencing. It can be reassuring to know that you can speak with someone about your shared experiences.
Creating Connections– A mesothelioma support group will very likely create connections between those in the group. These connections can help give you comfort and courage. You will also be able to experience the gift of being able to give comfort and courage yourself to other mesothelioma patients in your group.
Types of Mesothelioma Support Groups
- In Person – An in-person mesothelioma support group is wonderful because you and the others are right there with each other in the same room. Smiles, tears, laughter can all be a part of the experience of going through mesothelioma together. An in-person mesothelioma support group is usually coordinated by your oncology practice or cancer treatment center.
- Online – An online mesothelioma support group can offer surprisingly strong connections and support between individuals even though you all are not physically in the same room together. An advantage to consider is that it if you are feeling tired or unwell, it is easier to turn on your laptop or tablet at home than to get in the car and drive somewhere.
- Phone Groups – Phone-based mesothelioma support groups can provide a happy medium. They can offer the immediacy of human connection of a live group combined with the convenience of being in your own residence. These groups use teleconference services to get everyone connected at the same time. Phone-based mesothelioma groups usually have a designated group leader just as an in-person mesothelioma support group would.
How to Find Mesothelioma Support Groups
Mesothelioma support groups may be available at your oncology center or hospital. For example, Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston offers mesothelioma support groups for patients newly diagnosed with mesothelioma. It also offers support groups for family members of mesothelioma patients. Both groups meet on a weekly basis and are led by a licensed clinical social worker. Check with your physician, your physician’s staff and your treatment center to find out about mesothelioma support groups they may offer or know about.
The Meso Foundation, a non-profit organization, offers several mesothelioma support group options. These include phone-based groups that meet at a specific time every other week. There are also online groups on Facebook. To learn more, call 703 -879 -3819.
Mesothelioma Support from the Cancer Community
Mesothelioma support groups can be very helpful for sharing specific information and issues about mesothelioma. But consider the options for also connecting with the larger cancer community. Today scientific researchers are finding that all cancers have commonalities that may help treat cancer. Similarly, you may find that the common concerns you face as a cancer patient may cut across types of cancer and provide some excellent shared information. Many of the large national cancer organizations may be able to connect you to local and online cancer support groups.
You can call the Cancer Support Community’s free helpline 1-888-793-9355 Monday to Friday, 9 am to 9 pm Eastern Standard Time. A counselor will help you find a nearby support group, online support group or discussion group to connect with others. The counselor can also provide some over-the-phone counseling and emotional support.
The Cancer Support Community also offers free online support groups. They are led by licensed mental health professionals trained in cancer issues and conducting online support groups. The groups meet once a week online for 90 minutes. The Cancer Support Community also offer free 24/7 discussion boards called the Living Room.
Whatever route you choose – and you may have to try several until you find the best fit for you – it is worth trying to give yourself the many benefits of a mesothelioma support group or cancer support group.
Use Discretion When Communicating in a Mesothelioma Support Group
Be discrete when participating in a mesothelioma support group by keeping the conversations focused on medical, health and lifestyle topics. If you have filed or plan to file an asbestos lawsuit, be aware that these groups may not be confidential so be careful about what you say. Don’t discuss details of your lawsuit, and never mention how much money you have collected or hope to receive.