Latest Mesothelioma Support News

 By Warren Miller.    6th December 2016

The Psychological Care Needs in Mesothelioma and Lung Cancer Patients

Mesothelioma Care and Support

There has been new research in The UK analysing the needs and concerns of people with malignant mesothelioma or lung cancer. They found that the two groups share many concerns but there are also some differences.

The team of researchers analysed 17 studies on the psychological impact of receiving a diagnosis of mesothelioma or of lung cancer and looked at the impact of the various treatments for each disease.

They found 10 areas of concern that came up consistently among people going through treatment for the 2 lung diseases:

  • Uncertainty
  • Normality
  • Hope / hopelessness
  • Stigma / blame / guilt
  • Family / carer concern
  • Physical symptoms
  • Experience of diagnosis
  • Latrogenic distress
  • Financial / legal concerns
  • Death and dying worries

Different Concerns for Mesothelioma Patients

The research found that most lung cancer and mesothelioma patients had similar psychological experiences, those diagnosed with mesothelioma did have some additional concerns. There were notable differences in feelings of hopelessness, financial or legal worries and blame.

This additional stress can be explained by the fact that the only way you develop mesothelioma is by exposure to asbestos - usually at work and it is the erosion of trust in the employers that allowed this to happen.

There are more concerns over the prognosis for mesothelioma patients and there is currently no cure for the disease. Lung cancers may be easier to treat and surgery is often more successful.

The study concludes that mesothelioma patients and their families may require more support than lung cancer patients.

Electronic Support for Victims of Mesothelioma

There has also been research in Australia recently to test whether telephone and online support for mesothelioma patients services have the potential to improve well-being. Patients and families who receive a mesothelioma diagnosis will have many questions, in addition to emotional and practical issues, and support services can be an invaluable resource.

Telephone and online services like email and live chat are relatively cheap to provide and can be delivered over long distances, potentially improving access for mesothelioma patients and their families who may find travelling difficult.

The disease often develops in people over the age of 70, they may be single or have spouses with mobility issues and their children may live some distance away so travelling to and from hospitals or support centres may be challenging.

The team will also set up trials involving 500+ mesothelioma and lung cancer patients to test whether this form of support is better than simply providing printed information.

The patients must have a recent mesothelioma diagnosis, have a life expectancy of at least six months and have
access to the Internet. They will be selected at random to receive either printed information, telephone support or Internet support - email and live chat. The impact of the information and support these patients receive will be measured with questionnaires after 3 and 6 months.

The team hopes the information they gather may help to design helpline services so that they can provide a better service
to address emotional, mental and informational needs of mesothelioma patients and their families.

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