The value of a good support team can’t be understated when facing a terminal diagnosis. A network of supportive family, friends and health care professionals is the greatest asset someone can have when coping with a terminal disease like mesothelioma cancer.
Mesothelioma is an incurable cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. The five-year survival rate is less than 10 percent, and mesothelioma life expectancy is between 12 to 21 months. However, advancements in treatment are helping people live longer and more comfortably with the disease, and rare cases do go into remission, but the vast majority diagnosed with mesothelioma will succumb to the cancer within three years.
The Mesothelioma Center was created to serve the needs of people with mesothelioma and their families. The cancer is relatively rare, making resources and specialists hard to find. The team at The Mesothelioma Center has worked for years to make things easier for mesothelioma patients by gathering and creating resources, locating specialists and treatment centers, sifting through medical research, finding grants, and building an informational website to educate the public.
Knowing your options and having a plan of action regarding end-of-life decisions makes things easier to handle. The patient advocates at The Mesothelioma Center are available seven days a week to help people and families affected by mesothelioma. One of the advocates is a registered nurse who helps answer medical questions and connects patients with clinical trials. Two other advocates are veterans who help other veterans apply for VA benefits.
Among the free resources made available by The Mesothelioma Center are helpful books that inform or inspire, including books on cancer nutrition and caregiving. The center’s website features the most up-to-date medical and treatment information, as well as inspirational stories from survivors. Other resources, such as the Doctor Match program, Veterans Department and monthly support group, directly help people find treatment and get the support they need.
Doctor Match Program
Mesothelioma specialists are using cutting-edge treatment plans to help people with mesothelioma live longer and with a higher quality of life. Because mesothelioma is a relatively rare cancer, few doctors specialize in treating the disease. With so few doctors specializing in mesothelioma treatment it can prove challenging for patients to find quality care.
The Doctor Match program was created to help people with mesothelioma find the best specialists close to their home. Patient advocates learn about the patient’s needs, type of mesothelioma and location and then offer up a list of nearby specialists. Advocates can even help book appointments or assist with travel arrangements if financial assistance for transportation is necessary.
Medical Travel Grants
Not everyone who develops mesothelioma lives near a specialist. And paying for transportation on top of medical bills is a challenge. This is why the patient advocates at The Mesothelioma Center connect patients with travel grants.
Some travel grants help with flights and other forms of transportation, while other grants offer rooms for patients and their family to stay in during treatment.
All divisions of the U.S. Armed Forces used asbestos frequently, especially the U.S. Navy. Asbestos offered protection against fire and was used throughout barracks, airplanes, automobiles and all naval vessels and shipyards. As result, a disproportionate amount of veterans are diagnosed with mesothelioma.
The Mesothelioma Center has two VA-accredited claims agents who help veterans with the VA claims process. These agents are veterans too, and they’re experienced with the tedious details of getting a VA claim approved. They walk veterans through the claims process and can even help with denied claims. VA-accredited claims agents make getting VA benefits easier for veterans and families.
Online Support Group
Facing a terminal diagnosis is more than dealing with end-of-life decisions. It affects people emotionally and socially. Support from others with mesothelioma is hard to find because of the cancer’s rarity. This is why The Mesothelioma Center started an online support group guided by a mental health counselor Dana Nolan, who specializes in counseling people with cancer.
The support group meets online the second Wednesday of every month at 8 p.m. People can also call in if they don’t have Internet access. Nolan starts the monthly session with a short presentation on a helpful support topic. Participants are then free to share experiences and communicate with others coping with this rare cancer.
To learn more about accessing The Mesothelioma Center’s free resources and programs, call (800) 615-2270 or visit Asbestos.com. Patient advocates are available seven days a week to help people with mesothelioma get the support and resources they need.
About the Author: Michelle Whitmer has translated medical jargon into patient-friendly information at Asbestos.com for more than six years. Michelle is a registered yoga teacher, a member of the American Holistic Medical Association, and was quoted by The New York Times on the risks of asbestos exposure.