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Mesothelioma and Your Mental Health

Diagnosis and treatment of malignant mesothelioma is focused on what is happening inside of your body: whether you have pleural mesothelioma, impacting your chest and lungs, or peritoneal mesothelioma, impacting your abdominal cavity, you are doing battle with cancerous tumors that are attacking your organs. Beyond the physical fatigue, nausea and pain that this rare form of cancer causes, mesothelioma also has an impact on your mental health, and in order to maintain the highest quality of life possible, it is important that you pay attention to these affects as well.  For most people diagnosed with mesothelioma, and many of their loved ones as well, mesothelioma causes anxiety, depression, grief, or some combination of all three.

Depression is the most commonly experienced emotion in the face of a cancer diagnosis, and mesothelioma patients are no exception to that rule. According to the National Cancer Institute, somewhere between 15 and 25% of cancer patients suffer from depression, a mood disorder characterized by feelings of emptiness, helplessness, fatigue, and worthlessness.

Anxiety in the face of mesothelioma can take many shapes. Some of the questions that people worry about include:

  • What does the future hold?
  • How much time do I have left?
  • Will my family be okay?
  • How will I pay for my medical expenses?
  • How much pain will I have to endure?
  • Will my next scan show improvement or relapse?

Grief is usually associated with the emotions that follow a death, but mesothelioma patients and those who care about them begin to feel the pain of loss almost immediately after a diagnosis is made. This is known as anticipatory grief caused by the expectation of a loss: it can include shock, denial, anger, helplessness, and all of the other emotions typically associated with l.osing a loved one.

The fact that all of these feelings are normal does not mean that you have to suffer through them alone. Emotional support should be part of your overall mesothelioma treatment. Speak with your physician to see what type of support is available as part of their protocol, and speak with your clergy, your family, and mesothelioma support groups. The Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net are also here to help. Call us today at  1-800-692-8608



Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an experienced blog writer, editor, and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of expertise include health, medical research, and law.

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