Mesothelioma Overview & Support

Mesothelioma, aka malignant mesothelioma, is a rare form of cancer that develops from the protective lining that covers the body's internal organs, named the mesothelium. It is usually caused by exposure to asbestos.

The symptoms of mesothelioma include shortness of breath due to fluid between the lung and the chest wall, chest pain, and symptoms including weight loss. The diagnosis may be suspected with chest X-ray and CT scan, and is confirmed with a biopsy (tissue sample) and microscopic examination.

Mesothelioma symptoms

  • Chest wall pain
  • Fluid buildup surrounding the lung
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Wheezing or cough
  • Blood coughed up
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abnormal buildup of fluid in the abdomen
  • A mass in the abdomen
  • Problems with bowel function
  • Weight loss
  • Blood clots in the veins
  • Jaundice
  • Low blood sugar

Exposure to asbestos is the typical cause of mesothelioma cancer. Exposure can occur by inhaling or ingesting asbestos fibers, which become airborne. When these tiny fibers are inhaled, they can become lodged in the lining of the lungs and result in pleural mesothelioma. When ingested, the fibers can become lodged in the lining of the abdomen and result in peritoneal mesothelioma.

A mesothelioma diagnosis, as with other cancers, has a devastating effect on both patients and their loved ones. Coping with mesothelioma is never easy, but there are sources of support available to help people diagnosed with mesothelioma handle the emotional and financial issues surrounding their condition.

Mesothelioma Support Groups

Support groups for mesothelioma patients provide an opportunity for members to exchange information about the physical and emotional effects of their illness, as well as practical issues such as how to manage the side effects of mesothelioma treatments. When it comes to cancer support groups, it is important to remember that different support groups may have different focuses and procedures. Some groups are facilitated by a psychologist or social worker. Other mesothelioma support groups are led by group members, and are referred to as peer or self-help groups. While some groups are more structured and educational, others emphasize emotional support and sharing personal experiences. Finding a support group that matches your needs and personality may require going to a few meetings of various groups and selecting the one you feel most comfortable with.

Finding Support Groups

IQ Mesothelioma has gathered a list of Mesothelioma Support Groups to help you start you search for a community of cancer patients you can share experiences and information with. mesothelioma doctors may also be able to provide you with information about groups you can join. Nurses or social workers who work with mesothelioma patients may also have information about support groups, such as their location, size, type, and how often they meet. In addition, most hospitals have social services departments that provide information about cancer support programs. Some mesothelioma patients may choose to get involved in online support groups, forums, or message boards where they can connect with other people affected by this disease and share their experiences.

Help for Family Members and Caregivers

Support groups can also help family members and caregivers of mesothelioma patients deal with the emotional stress, financial troubles and changing roles within the family. Some support groups are specifically created for the family and friends of those with cancer, while others encourage family and friends to participate along with the patient. Therapists who are experienced in helping families cope with serious illnesses and grief management can also be of assistance during this difficult time.

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Find a Doctor

Finding a mesothelioma doctor who is familiar with the disease and its treatment will help to ensure that you receive the best medical care possible. Contact a local specialist today.

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Clinical Trials

Though there is currently no cure for mesothelioma, various clinical trials are underway to test new drugs and treatments in the fight against this disease. Search active clinical trials.

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Exposure Sites

Asbestos, the only known cause of mesothelioma cancer, was used for decades in jobsites throughout the country. Review a list of known asbestos exposure locations in your area.

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