A new study has bolstered what cancer specialists around the world already believe—mesothelioma patients who receive supportive care experience less distress than those who do not.
The study, published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, analyzed primary studies published between 1980 and 2016. The research team identified 12 papers that investigated the psychological distress and care needs of mesothelioma patients, and nine papers for asbestos‐exposed subjects. The studies documented reactions of stress, including anxiety, shock, depression, anger, apathy, and social dysfunction, in both patients and family, when mesothelioma is diagnosed.
“Many mesothelioma patients directed anger towards family members and doctors, rather than past employers,” reports National Asbestos Helpline, UK (NAH UK). “The authors noted this may be due to the time between exposure to asbestos and development of an asbestos-related disease – anywhere between 10 and 50 years – and a feeling of loyalty towards employers.”
Healthcare professionals were found to play an important role in the severity of stress. It is noted that professionals with better communication skills helped decrease both stress and trauma among patients. “Quality of life improves in people who receive the supportive care and help they need to cope with their mesothelioma diagnosis or past exposure to asbestos dust and fibers,” reports NAH UK.
Well-being improved in mesothelioma patients and asbestos-exposed people who:
- Had access to clear and accurate legal information on the possibility of compensation
- Improved their diet to improve general health
- Participated in an asbestos support group
- Received palliative care
- Took advantage of physical therapy care to improve respiratory and physical function
Note that palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illness. This type of care is focused on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family. –Get Palliative Care
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, talk to your doctor about matching you with a team that will address all of your needs—physical, mental, and emotional. Supportive care could greatly improve your quality of life. Talk to your doctor today.
Bonafede, Michela, Monica Ghelli and Marisa Corfiati. "The psychological distress and care needs of mesothelioma patients and asbestos‐exposed subjects: A systematic review of published studies." Wiley Online Library. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 25 Mar. 2018. Web. 31 July 2018.
“Emotional needs of people exposed to asbestos revealed by study.” NationalAsbestos.co.uk. National Asbestos Helpline, UK, 05 July 2018. Web. 31 July 2018.
“What is Palliative Care?” Get Palliative Care. Center to Advance Palliative Care, 2018. Web. 31 July 2018.