The stress of a mesothelioma diagnosis is nearly unbearable. The condition, which is caused by exposure to asbestos, is always considered fatal, and the treatments that can prolong survival time are disruptive and come with side effects. They are also extremely costly and insurance rarely pays for all of it. Now a study out of Johns Hopkins University has revealed that the emotional burden imposed by those costs can in and of themselves significantly reduce patients’ quality of life.
High Levels of Stress Can Worsen Mesothelioma Outcomes
The study conducted by Hopkins’ researchers did not specifically analyze outcomes of patients with malignant mesothelioma. The 97 patients who participated had all recently been diagnosed with lung cancer. The two conditions are alike in many ways, and patients undergo similar treatments including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Though these medical protocols can provide relief from pain, reduce the size of tumors and prolong life, they are also very expensive. The report, which was published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, identifies a high-level stress that can affect patient outcomes, and refers to this as “financial toxicity”.
How Financial Toxicity Impacts Mesothelioma Patients
Based on the results of a test called the Comprehensive Score for Financial Toxicity, the researchers concluded that when patients with mesothelioma and other illnesses that are expensive to treat have to make significant financial sacrifices to pay for medical expenses, it affects their medical outcomes. Having to use retirement savings or struggling financially worsens their ability to cope, and may reduce their will to seek additional treatment.
The stress of a malignant mesothelioma diagnosis is made even worse by the knowledge that the illness was entirely preventable, and was likely the result of a company’s disregard for the lives of those working with their asbestos-contaminated product. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and you need information about coping with financial stress, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.