What is a Mesothelioma Prognosis?
Mesothelioma is rare and often difficult to diagnose. First, an oncologist must make an official mesothelioma diagnosis. Next, they determine how far the cancer has spread. The doctor will then provide a prognosis, which is a prediction of the patient’s life expectancy.
Living Beyond The Prognosis
Once a doctor has established a patient’s prognosis, he or she will prescribe a treatment plan with the hopes of improving it.
Since mesothelioma often returns, when a patient lives beyond the doctor’s prognosis, they are surviving mesothelioma. Even then, patients still need to maintain their health and continue to see an oncologist for regular checkups.
There are several complementary therapies and diet suggestions available which may improve a mesothelioma prognosis.
Some therapies include:
- Ozone Therapy
It’s always a good idea to consult with your mesothelioma specialist before trying any complementary treatments.
Improving your diet and exercise habits may also help improve prognosis and benefit your overall health. A few foods and substances patients should avoid:
- Alcohol & cigarettes
- Red meat
- Processed meat
- Refined sugars
Post Treatment Actions
Even if specific mesothelioma treatments are successful in shrinking the tumors and keeping them under control, an oncologist will still want to monitor your progress.
Here are three crucial steps to take post-treatment:
Establish follow-up care
As a cancer patient, it’s essential to schedule and attend all medical appointments and follow recommendations. Your oncologist will conduct a thorough examination and may even decide it’s necessary to order additional blood and imaging tests to ensure the cancer hasn’t returned.
Inquire about a survivorship care plan
In 2006, the National Academy of Medicine (formerly known as the Institute of Medicine), a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing unbiased and authoritative medical advice to the public, issued a report recommending every cancer patient receive an individualized survivorship care plan that includes guidelines for monitoring and maintaining health. It is important to talk with your doctor about putting together a specific survivorship care plan for you. This plan could include:
- Suggestions for diet & physical activity
- Appointments with your primary care provider to ensure you are in good general health
- What to expect health-wise down the road
Gather medical documents and records
It’s critical to keep track of all medical reports and records. Make copies of your health insurance cards and medical history, especially any vital information regarding your mesothelioma diagnosis and treatment. This way, If you decide to switch providers, you’ll have all the pertinent medical information on hand.
Can Mesothelioma Return?
Survivors of mesothelioma are always at risk of the disease returning. When mesothelioma recurs, it could be in the same area of the body or a completely new location. If this happens, your doctor will likely order further testing and treatment based on where the cancer has spread, how far along it is, your past therapies, and overall health. Oncologists may even suggest new, untested, innovative forms of treatment, such as clinical trials. These may or may not be covered by insurance, so patients should contact their health insurance provider.
Support for Mesothelioma Survivors and Loved Ones
Often, a mesothelioma diagnosis and subsequent treatment is a trying time for both patients and their families. Fortunately, there is help available.
Find good resources
It helps to have a good chunk of the information you are going to need, all in one place. There are helpful resources available which contain critical information on doctors, lawyers, and mesothelioma experts, so you don’t have to spend time looking.
Talk to a Specialist
Because mesothelioma is so rare, a lot of doctors haven’t encountered the disease. It helps to talk with a mesothelioma specialist who can ensure you get the best treatment possible.
Go to a Support Group
Several community organizations provide support for mesothelioma patients, their caregivers, and loved ones. Finding community members who can relate to your experiences may help ease feelings of isolation and fear. Support groups are also a great place to ask questions and get valuable feedback.
Mesothelioma support groups and resources:
Next Steps for Mesothelioma Survivors
Mesothelioma survivors need to maintain good physical and mental health. Patients should discuss daily, weekly, and monthly care options with their doctors, and ensure they follow this plan of action post-treatment.
If you are a mesothelioma survivor or undergoing treatment, you may be entitled to compensation to assist with medical bills and other expenses. Complete our free case evaluation form and talk to a patient advocate who can help you navigate the legal process.