I’ve Been Diagnosed With Mesothelioma — What Now?
Cancer. It’s a scary diagnosis for you and your loved ones. A mesothelioma patient will most likely experience a wide range of emotions, including fear, shock, and confusion. There are likely many questions swirling around. How did this happen? What’s the prognosis? Where is there treatment available? What will happen to family members?
It’s easy to become overwhelmed, but instead of hitting the panic button, press pause and utilize all the resources and information available on this site.
What Is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is an aggressive type of cancer that results from exposure to a mineral called asbestos, which was once commonly used in buildings as insulation or as a flame retardant. It’s a carcinogen that was largely banned in the late 1970s but still exists in the walls of many old structures. The majority of people with mesothelioma were exposed to asbestos at work, after handling the material and inhaling or ingesting the fibers. This is called ‘direct exposure.’ A smaller percentage develop an illness of ‘indirect’ causes from the clothing or shoes of a spouse or loved one who works with asbestos-laden products, this is called secondary asbestos exposure.
Each year, an estimated 3,300 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with mesothelioma. At first glance, that’s a seemingly small number of patients, especially when compared to more common types of cancer, such as breast or prostate cancer. Yes, mesothelioma is rare. But that doesn’t mean you’re destined to become a statistic. We’re here to arm you with information and hope.
Mesothelioma Patient Facts
- There are three main types of the cancer: pleural, peritoneal, and pericardial. Learn more about how this cancer affects different parts of the body.
- Your prognosis not only depends on the type of cancer but also how far it has progressed — or spread — in the body. Learn more about the four different stages.
- Patients have a variety of treatment options, both to stop the disease from spreading, or simply to ease uncomfortable symptoms.
- Concerned about paying for treatment? Based on your occupation and asbestos exposure, you could be entitled to legal compensation.
- Veterans comprise one-third of all mesothelioma patients. If you served in one of the five military branches and worked with asbestos or asbestos-containing products, you may qualify for veterans’ benefits.
Hope for Mesothelioma Patients
Mesothelioma patients may be dealing with a rare type of cancer, but that’s no reason to lose hope. There are mesothelioma support groups and charities in many different areas of the country, as well as patient advocates who can answer questions and provide support. In the medical community, new treatments are helping people manage their symptoms and improving — even extending — lives.