This article will discuss about Health Care & Support for Mesothelioma Patients.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, there are a million things that come to mind ranging from what type of treatments you should obtain, what mesothelioma specialist to attend to as well as what Cancer center offers the best clinical trials for your case.
Your health care team consists of mesothelioma doctors, nurses, cancer social workers, psychologists, home care specialists and nutritionists can all assist you while you progress through these difficult times.
Below, we take a look at the role of each of these entities for your health care & successful treatment.
1. Yourself as the Patient
Your role as the patient is the first and foremost. It is your responsibility to be an informed patient by asking questions about your lung cancer, treatment options available and how far malignant tumors have grown in your lungs, if any.
Your responsibility is to clarify any issues with your mesothelioma doctor and be informed about treatment choices you make.
Here is a good summary of how to make the most of your time when you have an appointment with a mesothelioma doctor:
- Write up a list of questions you want to ask about your treatment. Ask about the type of mesothelioma your lungs have developed, what diagnosis steps were taken to diagnose that lung cancer, what type of treatments ranging from chemotherapy, palliative care or radiotherapy is available to you and which one is best. Write down any symptoms such as difficulty breathing or excessive cough, etc that you may be experiencing and ask your doctor about these symptoms and what they might indicate.
- If possible, take a friend or family member with you who can take notes, help you ask questions and be a mentor. Also if possible, tape record your conversation so that if you forget to ask an important question, you can always rewind the tape and book another appointment or call the doctor to ask the missed question.
- Ask to get copies of brochures about mesothelioma, symptoms and treatment options available. This brochure can include useful information such as nutrition, home care options available, pain management & support groups available to support you in times of distress.
Most specialized cancer treatment centers have nurses who specialize in supporting patients with mesothelioma lung cancer or other types of cancer.
These nurses are experts at implementing treatment plans approved by your doctor, trained to administer side effects, ascites or fluids that can accumulate in the lungs and do routine tests.
If you plan to stay at the specialized cancer treatment center, it is essential to develop good working relationships with nurses as they will be the ones taking care of you 24/7.
After leaving the hospital, you can request a nurse to visit you a few times covered under your health insurance. This has to be approved by your doctor.
3. Social Workers
Social workers are a good support group if you have been recently diagnosed with mesothelioma and are overwhelmed by the social effects of such Cancer.
Examples of social workers include oncology social workers whose main task is to help those recently diagnosed with Cancer, any type of cancer for that matter.
Clinical social workers specialize in providing counseling and family therapy for patients suffering from all types of Cancer.
Hospital social workers on the other hand can help arrange transportation for your visits between different support groups and the treatment center, as well as help you understand your diagnosis & treatment options and help you deal with aftermaths of such actions.
4. Psychologists & Psychiatrists
When a cancer patient is diagnosed with mesothelioma lung cancer, the patient could easily feel emotional depression and the help of a psychologist can help improve the quality of life for the patient and remove emotional distress.
It is important to select a good psychologist that is an expert in helping people with anxiety, depression and lack of hope. Afterall, good emotional health is an essential of life.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors in providing psychological help to their patients and can recommend & prescribe medicines such as antidepressants and sleep aids; psychologists however cannot prescribe medicines.
5. Nutritionists & Dietitians
Nutrition is a very important factor for restoring the good quality of life for patients recently diagnosed with mesothelioma lung cancer.
Most patients tend to lose weight after being diagnosed with mesothelioma because of emotional distress or depression and continuing doctor visits & treatment appointments.
It makes sense for a recently diagnosed mesothelioma patient to hire a dietitian or a nutritionist that can help you remain strong and not fall weak, intake enough calories into your body by making healthier food choices, and eat vitans & proteins and maintain a healthy weight.
They can also help you deal with cholesterol & diabetes. Dietitians can recommend diets that will help reduce the side effects of cancer treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
6. Hospice & Home Care
Hospice care is the term used when patients live in a cancer treatment facility and receive palliative care from caring nurses and doctors.
The nurses help monitor and control the patient’s symptoms as well as provide emotional & spiritual support.
There are other specialized cancer hospitals that are dedicated to provide support & aid for cancer patients.
Home care nurses on the other hand can come to your house and provide you with bathing, food preparation and household chore help.
This can be covered by your health insurance, so be sure to check up with your health insurance company.
Specialized mesothelioma doctors can refer you to home care nurses that are trained specifically for cancer patients.