A mesothelioma diagnosis brings forth a unique set of challenges for the patient and their families. There is a lot to consider from choosing the right doctor and treatment center to keeping day-to-day life in order.
Not only are these issues emotional, but also financial, which further complicates things.
Below are the common challenges patients and their families face after a mesothelioma diagnosis and actionable solutions to take to manage them.
1. Choosing a Specialist
It can be difficult to know how to select the right specialist, as there are a limited number of mesothelioma experts and facilities equipped to treat this rare cancer.
When choosing a doctor, you must consider your mesothelioma location and stage, treatment options, availability of clinical trials and whether or not you need a second opinion.
Choosing the right doctor doesn’t need to be stressful. Register today for our FREE Doctor Match Program to help get connected with a top mesothelioma doctor near you specializing in treating your unique diagnosis.
2. Traveling to the Treatment Center
Most mesothelioma treatment centers are located within large metro areas and can be difficult to trek to, particularly for patients living in rural areas.
Patients from remote areas may have to travel long distances to seek mesothelioma treatment, which can lead to expenses piling up. Travel can also be physically and emotionally demanding on mesothelioma patients.
Fortunately, there are resources available for those who must travel far distances for their treatment.
Many large hospital centers offer Patient Travel Programs with discounts on flights within the United States. Additionally, some airlines such as Southwest Airlines partner with cancer centers to offer free, round-trip flights for cancer patients who need to travel for their treatment.
Certain organizations provide free travel services for cancer patients, often on private jets. Examples of these organizations include:
- Angel Flight West
- Patient AirLift Services
- Air Charity Network
- Corporate Angel Network
3. Accommodation and Lodging
Ongoing treatment requires accommodation, which can become expensive quickly. But free or reduced-cost lodging is available in many areas.
Extended-stay facilities provide a comfortable setting for cancer patients and their families at little to no cost. These facilities are different than hotels because they provide support and resources to families undergoing medical treatment.
Some examples of such facilities include:
- Ronald McDonald House Charities for pediatric patients
- Hope Lodge
- Fisher House Foundation
- Healthcare Hospitality Network
For patients who opt to use a hotel, many offer a “medical rate”, which is a discounted rate. Be sure to ask at time of booking.
Joe’s House is a nonprofit organization that helps cancer patients and their families find lodging when traveling for treatment. They partner with lodging organizations around the country to offer discounts for patients and their families.
4. Caregiver Resources
Taking care of a loved one with a mesothelioma diagnosis is hard work—physically and emotionally. There are times when the patient or the caregiver must take unpaid time off of work for travel and cancer treatment, which strains budgets. Or, you may require an additional caregiver while loved ones are at work.
When a family member is diagnosed with mesothelioma, the everyday tasks can become overwhelming. It is essential for the caretaker also to take care of themselves too.
Here are a few things that caregivers need to do:
- Find a support group to connect with others with similar experiences
- Take time off when available to give a respite
- Find ways to reduce stress through meditation, prayer, yoga or exercise
- Take the time to eat properly, as good nutrition is vital to stay well
- Ask for help when overwhelmed with errands and daily tasks
Other Challenges and Expenses
Life doesn’t stop after a mesothelioma diagnosis. There are still bills that need to be paid, a house to clean, and tasks of everyday life. With the burden of undergoing medical treatment, the expenses can pile up.
Luckily, there are a number of financial assistance options to help the patient and caregiver cover the costs of living with this rare disease.
Some options for paying for medical expenses for mesothelioma patients include:
- The Chain Fund
- The SAMFund
- The Brenda Mehlin Cancer Fund
- Cancer Fund of America
- American Cancer Society
- Veterans Assistance from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs
If you’re facing challenges after a mesothelioma diagnosis, we can help. Our Patient Advocates can connect you with support resources or nearby mesothelioma specialists. Call us today at (800) 584-4151 or request a FREE Mesothelioma Help Guide for a full explanation of your support and treatment options.