Finding that you have mesothelioma may be devastating but there are a lot of things you can do in order to improve your situation. You should learn to live with mesothelioma. It is important that you learn a lot on the disease as much as you can. Your doctor is an invaluable source of information. If this physician happens to be the family physician, he/she may know your body more than everyone else. So it is important to have an open line of communication with your physician. This is vital when dealing with a serious illness such as mesothelioma. Your success in fighting the disease depends a great deal on effective communication with your physician.
Do not hesitate to ask questions about the treatment available for you and their side effects. By being informed and proactive you will achieve a sense of feeling in control. The physician may not have all the time in the world for you but it is important for you to be informed as much as you can and do not hesitate to ask questions that bother you. You may make a list of questions at home and take it to the clinic since it is common to forget questions when you are at the clinic or hospital.
You may feel overwhelmed with information, so you may take a note book with you to the clinic or hospital and jot down the information in order not to forget. Moreover it is a good idea to take a friend or family member with you. This will not only instill courage but the relative/friend can contribute to the conversation with the physician.
There are various issues that you need to know about your mesothelioma. It is important to ask your physician about:
The type of mesothelioma you have - This is very important since different types vary in their severity and have different prognosis and so different life expectancies.
The spread (stages) of the disease – If mesothelioma is localized it can even be completely cured in some cases. Unfortunately mesothelioma is often diagnosed when it has already progressed a lot and so the patient has often a bleak prognosis. Treatment options will also depend on how much the disease has already spread.
Types of treatments, their effectiveness and their side effects – Cancer treatment usually has side effects which may be quite severe. It is important to know about these side effects since they may considerably change your quality of life. There are however appropriate treatments that can relieve these side effects. By having some treatment may deter you from having other treatments, so it is important to be informed as much as you can.
The prognosis of the disease - A prognosis is a prediction of how the disease will progress, life expectancy, and if there is the chance of a complete recovery.
The availability of clinical trials – Clinical trials are research studies conducted on patients in order to evaluate a new treatment. It is done in order to find new methods of treating diseases. Since the available treatments for mesothelioma are quite ineffective in treating the disease, clinical trials may be considered by some mesothelioma patients. However not everyone can qualify for a clinical trial. It depends on many factors and so ask your physician about your eligibility.
Any other problems or questions you might have - It is important that your questions are answered. So ask questions to be informed. If your line of communication with your physician is not good, this may deter you from making the right choices.