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Home > Help and support > Mesothelioma support groups

Mesothelioma support groups

Emotional and mental treatment can be just as important as medical procedures when it comes to cancer. For every patient and family member in need, there is a support group specialized in coping with mesothelioma cancer. Mesothelioma support groups could strongly facilitate a better quality of life for both patients and their families. Ideas and techniques are offered, resources and stories are shared, and the general atmosphere of such meetings tends to leave the members of the group with more optimistic outlooks on living with cancer.

Support groups are known to provide an open forum for expressing concerns in a comfortable environment. A patient's closest support group can be located by asking the local doctor or hospital social worker. One can also conduct a search on the Internet under "mesothelioma support group." If there are no groups specifically for mesothelioma in the geographical area of interest, other cancer groups invite a mesothelioma patient's needs as well. The emotional encouragement patients conflicted with cancer can provide for one another significantly improves the quality of life during treatment. Sharing similar challenges can prove to be cathartic for most patients.

There are different levels of support, as there are different levels of social connection for the patient. Family and friends, most importantly, serve as a constant compassionate relationship, which can bear strong healing power for the mind. Those who are most familiar make the best consolers. A further form of support is psychological counseling- whether as an individual or with family, counseling has been known to calm concerns the patient may be dealing with about the future. Counseling can also open communication amongst family members if need be.

It is crucial that a patient chooses a group that is right for him or her. As different groups may have different procedures and focuses, it is important to find one that matches exactly what the patient needs. Some groups are self-directed, wherein the patient addresses issues with personal insight as prompted by a group leader or by group members (as in self-help groups). There are also support groups led by a psychologist or a social worker; these meetings focus on an open forum where personal communication and sharing of struggles becomes the core of the meeting for an empathetic, objective, and compassionate environment. Some groups may have a focus on the pragmatic education while others are more emotional, affective meetings for support and shared experience.

In conjunction with therapy, there are further alternative support services a patient and family can look to. Religious leaders, for example, and home care services (usually nurses and physical therapists) are two types of people with different ideologies, but both are trained to help others cope with fears, loneliness, and confusion in search for meaning. Home care can be located in a phone book under non-profit and social, health, or aging services. The most effective recommendation, however, would be for a patient to come in contact with groups of others enduring the same trials and tribulations.

As of today, there are 2,500 to 3,000 people a year affected by mesothelioma. Comparative to other forms of cancer, this is a relatively rare disease. If a patient cannot find a group specifically pertaining to mesothelioma, this should not be a deterrent. General groups are just as affective and helpful. Hospitals and most doctors will have important details about local cancer support groups, so the patient (and family) can research type, size, location, and meeting duration. Newspapers may also announce meetings. Once a patient is diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is usual and expected for him or her to feel emotionally or spiritually troubled. In accompaniment with a diagnosis, establishing a support network can quell overwhelming emotions in a safe space. People from various contexts can provide patients with peace of mind. Emotions can be overwhelming after a cancer diagnosis, and having a safe place to discuss everything and anything problematic is often beneficial.

Mesothelioma support networks have a range of diversity. Family and friends, faith or spirituality, and support groups (better still a mesothelioma support group) can better attend to a patient's treatment plan. A nurse or social worker involved in the patient's treatment can provide necessary information to direct patients to groups.

Whatever style one feels comfortable with will provide the most support. The primary goal of a cancer or mesothelioma support group is to offer a caring, confidential atmosphere for the patient to express his or her emotions openly. Whatever a patient needs to say can be discussed in the support group environment; also, hearing others' strifes can be helpful as well. One of the greatest benefits of such a group is the chance to learn and empathize with others in similar situations who feel the same anxieties. It is encouraging and empowering to help and be helped by other members of the same group.

Various groups have their own ways of communicating and attending to the needs of their members, as mentioned briefly before. Some support groups progressively have patients lead the discussion; alternatively, there are other groups where patient discussion is led with professional guidance from an oncologist nurse or social workers, chaplains or psychologists. Many support groups are open to patients, friends, and family; other patients who opt for privacy and discretion in communication can attend support groups for patients only.

There are open support groups (these are open to the public, in which the members could change from week to week) and closed groups (open to the same people every week). Occasionally there are times when new members are invited in a closed group. Usually closed groups keep the same members since consistency enables the environment to function as a treatment approach with discretion and privacy.

Once a patient finds a comfortable space, with or without family and friends, he or she can gradually adopt and embrace the caring atmosphere that occurs in therapeutic institutions. Hindrances on routines, disability with work, changes in relationships, and introspective questions can be addressed with confidence and understanding can come with optimal support. Discussion is open. Learning through empathy and similarity of experiences can enlighten patients' situations and alleviate stress by sharing stories and strifes. It is productive for patients to help and be helped by one another in a group setting. Insights with therapy can make the struggles of living with cancer manageable. Coping with mesothelioma is especially difficult in that it is aggressive and severely affects the body. Support groups are helpful in that they provide encouragement, support, coping strategies and insights into how one may accept and solve the problems cancer creates.

These support groups provide counseling, education and communication for victims of life-threatening diseases.

  • http://www.acor.org/support.html - Association of Cancer Online Resources (ACOR) manages a mailing list for mesothelioma patients.
  • http://www.alcase.org/support/suptrgroups.html - Alliance for Lung Cancer, Advocacy, Support and Education Support Groups (ALCASE) national lung cancer support groups.
  • http://www.aicr.org/resource.html - American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) Cancer Resource provides treatment information to cancer patients and their families.
  • http://www.cancercare.org/people/counseling - Cancer Care Counseling provides free professional counseling for individuals or professionally facilitated support groups.
  • http://www.amc.org/flash/cicl/f_cicl_aboutcicl.html - Cancer Information and Counseling Line (CICL) is a service of AMC Cancer Center to help people with cancer and their families.
  • http://www.hospiceworld.org/ - Hospicelink not-for-profit organization that offers information about hospice and palliative care. They can refer patients and their families to local programs.
  • http://www.wellness-community.org/ - National program of education, support and hope for cancer patients and their families.
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