Families are often left wondering how to care for their loved ones at home after being diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer. In addition to addressing lung health, mesothelioma cancer treatment will focus on easing symptoms and treating side effects.
If your loved one suffers from mesothelioma cancer, consider the following tips. Take care of yourself and remember that being there for them is a lot to handle. You’ll be a better caregiver when you look after yourself.
Put Together A Support Team
After receiving a cancer diagnosis, a family’s first step should be to form a support group. To care for someone with cancer properly, one person cannot easily do everything that needs to be done.
Coordinating the care needed for someone with mesothelioma will require the support of a team. Seek support from friends, family, and neighbors. Plan meals, transportation for appointments, and other aspects of care.
Families and friends of primary caregivers can directly assist those providing care. To free up time for primary caregivers, in-laws can do laundry, do dishes, and clean up around the house.
Take Into Account All Treatment Options
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are the standard treatments for mesothelioma. Occasionally, early diagnosis qualifies patients for surgery, but this is a rarity.
Clinical trials are an option considered by many people with mesothelioma cancer. Patients who participate in these trials receive innovative treatments and new drugs. There are a number of new immunotherapy drugs being evaluated for mesothelioma, for example. The immunotherapy drugs can shrink or control tumors, as well as ease the side effects of chemotherapy.
Focus On Pulmonary Care
For mesothelioma cancer patients, lung health is paramount. The condition of the lungs can change or worsen as cancer progresses. Having difficulty breathing, breathlessness, coughing, and pain when breathing are common and treatable conditions.
To keep patients comfortable, medications and respiratory therapies are available. Some medicines aid in opening airways so that patients can breathe better. Patients experiencing pain due to the pressure of chest tumors can take pain medication. Patients can learn breathing techniques and exercises from pulmonary therapists to improve their lung function. Learn more by talking to your oncologist about referrals to pulmonary therapists.
Ensure That Treatment Is As Safe As Possible
Keeping patients comfortable requires managing the side effects of treatment as well as symptoms caused by cancer. Any new symptoms or side effects of your treatment should be discussed with your oncologist right away. The good news is that there are treatments and medications available to treat side effects.
Patients who qualify for surgery will be required to recover for four to six weeks after the procedure. After surgery, patients are likely to feel fatigued, weak, and sore.
The side effects of chemotherapy include fatigue, nausea, and vomiting. Chemotherapy-related nausea is highly treatable and preventable with today’s anti-nausea medicines. Additionally, there are many natural treatments available for nausea. Fatigue can be managed through energy management throughout the day and increased protein intake to aid in recovery.
Although radiation therapy tends to cause few side effects, some people may experience skin irritation that feels like sunburn. You can use topical ointments such as aloe or whatever your doctor recommends.
Consider Your Emotional Well-Being
Cancer can be difficult on the emotional health of those who are diagnosed with it. Fear often strikes even the toughest people after a cancer diagnosis. It may also be difficult to cope with sadness for some.
It’s not realistic to expect to learn to handle these emotions immediately. You have to learn how to cope with these emotions over time. This can be difficult on your own. Cancer patients need help coping with dark emotions. If you need tips on how to cope, consider talking to a mental health professional.
Mental health professionals strongly recommend joining a cancer support group. Patients and family members can communicate with those who are going through similar experiences. Connecting with others can help to normalize the experience and make patients and loved ones feel less alone. During a support group, patients and their families receive compassion and support that is hard to find elsewhere, and the bonds made never fade away.
Observe Your Own Emotions And Feelings First
Getting cancer news from a close family member or friend can be an upsetting experience, especially when mesothelioma has such a low survival rate. When faced with a diagnosis, it is important that you deal with your feelings without dumping them on the one who was diagnosed.
When you’re around someone with mesothelioma, just try to limit any negative feelings. There’s no right or wrong way to handle it. Your goal should be to be the best support system you can be for them.
Make Your Words Sensitive
Knowing what to say when a loved one has cancer can be tough, but don’t overthink it. Be compassionate and kind to your loved ones during this difficult time and treat them the way you would want to be treated.
Genuinely asking them for their support is the most important thing. Since everyone’s needs differ, be transparent about how you can assist them in coping with their mesothelioma diagnosis.
Giving Through Kindness
Supporting someone with mesothelioma can be done in a number of ways. One of the best things you can do is to show kindness through gestures that help them out. During mesothelioma treatment, life can be stressful, so help however you can.
Here are some things you can do:
- Making a meal for them
- Babysitting their kids or helping them pick and drop from school
- Helping them with groceries or buying medication
- Offering to take them to an appointment or to a support group
- Spending time with them or taking them outside for walks
- Receiving a letter or package for them
- Helping them connect with their relatives via phone or travel
- Promoting awareness of mesothelioma
Additionally, those suffering from mesothelioma are often supported by family members. It doesn’t matter if it’s their spouse, child, parent, or close friend, be sure to reach out to them to see what you can do to support them.
Maintain The Relationship You Had Before They Were Diagnosed
When someone is diagnosed with cancer, it may seem like all they ever hear from others is about their illness. While it’s perfectly okay to express concern, you should maintain the relationship you had before their diagnosis to make sure they know that you don’t view them any differently now.
You shouldn’t assume they are no longer interested in traditions like monthly coffee dates or annual vacations because they have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. Rather than giving them a choice, ask them if they are still interested in the occasion or if they would like to do something else. They’ll appreciate your efforts to make them feel included and that you’re still interested in spending time with them.
Cancer patients tend to lose touch when their main concern is their health, so it’s easy for them to lose touch. Keep in touch throughout their treatment to make sure you don’t lose touch. If you have not spoken in a while, set up reminders to check-in.
It can be difficult for patients to have a full discussion about mesothelioma since it is a form of lung cancer. Assure them they will be comfortable by asking how they prefer to communicate. These activities might be texting, writing letters, or sharing posts on social media. Whatever it may be, make sure you adapt to meet their needs and find out how you can best assist.
People react differently to cancer diagnosis, so they are likely to make choices that are different from yours. There is nothing wrong with that. Keeping your support for their decisions and encouraging them along the way are the most important things.
Don’t stop being supportive when cancer treatment is over. Even after treatment ends, cancer takes its toll on a person emotionally. Be a positive influence on them and continue to show them your support.