The stress of a mesothelioma diagnosis is all consuming. Patients are suddenly confronted with a very real, very close mortality. They must make difficult, often heartbreaking decisions about their own course of treatment and about their family’s future. The realities of the disease have always been hard, but now – in the midst of a global pandemic – they have gotten even more challenging and stressful. The same is true for patients suffering from all types of cancer.
Mesothelioma Treatment Makes Patients More Vulnerable to COVID-19
Chemotherapy, one of the most commonly used treatment protocols for the treatment of malignant mesothelioma, is widely understood to leave the patient’s immune system in a medically compromised condition. Being vulnerable to illness has always been a concern, and that has grown exponentially as the world confronts a deadly virus. Patients are left feeling isolated and helpless, with little that they can do to protect themselves.
In addition to their fears of infection, mesothelioma patients are specifically affected by the additional burden that the pandemic is placed on the healthcare system. A trip to the hospital is now far more intrusive and harrowing, and physicians and caregivers are either diverted to provide care for COVID-19 patients or cancer treatments may be delayed. And many of those who had relied upon employer-sponsored health insurance have found themselves unemployed and without coverage.
American Cancer Society Survey Reveals Effect of Pandemic on Cancer Patients
The American Cancer Society recently released a survey of cancer patients that makes the pandemic’s impact on mesothelioma patients clear. They found that almost half of patients surveyed confirmed that both their mental health and their ability to pay for treatments has been impacted, and more than two thirds worry about their risk of infection in light of people not adhering to social distancing.
Speaking to National Public Radio about the issue, oncology social worker Marlee Kiel of CancerCare says that cancer patients like those dealing with mesothelioma are dealing with staggering levels of persistent anxiety. “All of the stressors that have already existed for cancer patients — and now they’re managing everything all at once on triple the scale.”
If you have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and you are facing additional challenges because of COVID-19, we are here to help. Contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608 to learn more.