This page has been fact checked by an experienced mesothelioma Patient Advocate. Sources of information are listed at the bottom of the article.
We make every attempt to keep our information accurate and up-to-date.
Please Contact Us with any questions or comments.
A mesothelioma diagnosis is devastating for both the patient and the people in his or her immediate world. The condition is rare compared to other forms of cancer, and unfortunately, the outlook is grim. Though researchers continue to search for a cure for this challenging disease, the best they can do at this point is extend the lives of many victims of the disease.
Though mesothelioma is a terminal illness, it does not mean there is nothing that can be done. There are a number of ways those who care about the person with mesothelioma can respond and react that will be appreciated. Though it is often difficult to know exactly what to say or do, kindness is always the best answer. Also, the list of things that can make incremental improvements in a cancer patient’s quality of life is long.
Whether the patient has been newly diagnosed or has been struggling for some time, there are things they need. Despite this, it is important to remember that cancer patients often don’t want to ask for help. Therefore, asking them what you can do for them is unlikely to get a satisfactory response. People often feel guilty asking for things because they don’t want to be a burden. Cancer patients also struggle with enough decisions in the course of their illness that it may be exhausting coming up with ways for you to assist them.
Rather than asking what they need or want, use your imagination to come up with things that are universally appealing. By offering assistance you are being thoughtful, as well as helpful. Try something you would appreciate or enjoy yourself. Plus, there’s nothing like the element of surprise to bring a smile to someone’s face.
What to Give a Cancer Patient
If you are looking for gestures that would be appreciated by a mesothelioma patient or his family, here is a short list to get you started.
- Food: Even if the mesothelioma patient is unable to eat as a result of the treatments, family members and caretakers still need to keep their strength up. Providing food to cover a meal or two is usually a tremendous help. If you like to organize, you can set up a meal calendar that others in the community can sign up for. MealBaby and HelpingHands are popular choices.
- Gift Cards: Following the same thought process, giving the family gift cards to local restaurants, or local pharmacies and grocery stores, you help buy essentials. A gift card allows them to purchase things they would enjoy while reducing their financial burden.
- Vacations: Maybe you are a frequent flier who has racked up lots of airline miles. Or maybe you can donate a condo in an appealing resort area. If so, you can help by providing a much needed vacation to the patient and his or her family. A vacation gives the patient and loved ones the opportunity to get away from their cancer treatment. This gesture is extremely considerate and will be very much appreciated.
- Services: There are a number of home services you can provide for the patient and their family. It’s possible family members do not have the time to complete some tasks. Whether it is handyman chores around the house or a cleaning service to do the dusting and vacuuming, providing the family with a service is actually a gift of time. The most valuable thing you can give to a mesothelioma patient and their family is time.
- Subscriptions: Whether to a magazine, Netflix, or Audible.com, purchasing a monthly subscription is extremely inexpensive. However, these can provide unlimited hours of entertainment and distraction. Sometimes distraction is a valuable gift for a mesothelioma patient.
Page Edited by Patient Advocate Dave Foster
Dave has been a mesothelioma Patient Advocate for over 10 years. He consistently attends all major national and international mesothelioma meetings. In doing so, he is able to stay on top of the latest treatments, clinical trials, and research results. He also personally meets with mesothelioma patients and their families and connects them with the best medical specialists and legal representatives available.