Many Louisiana residents are familiar with the threat of mesothelioma, a type of cancer that may come from exposure to asbestos. While there are many physical symptoms of the disease, a mesothelioma diagnosis may also take a toll on a patient’s mental and emotional health. Along with following a medical professional’s recommended treatment course, patients may want to address emotional and mental challenges.
Many patients experience some level of fear following a mesothelioma diagnosis. Some patients feel more hopeful or confident when they have more information. Asking medical professionals questions about the disease, symptoms, treatment options and potential side effects may help reduce some of the fear. The American Cancer Society has a long list of helpful questions patients may use to gather knowledge about their conditions. There are numerous topics patients may address with their health care providers, including cancer stages, second opinions, treatment options, recommended lifestyle changes and follow-up care.
Some patients may experience severe mental health issues during their diagnosis and treatment for mesothelioma. Anxiety and depression are often common in cancer patients, and some survivors may continue experiencing these symptoms for years. The National Cancer Institute states that some patients experience symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress related to their cancer, both during and following treatment.
These mental health challenges may make life less fulfilling for mesothelioma patients and may even contribute to a higher mortality rate. Fortunately, more medical professionals are acknowledging the emotional and mental health aspects of cancer, and they may be able to prescribe anti-anxiety medicines. Many patients have found help for PTS symptoms by joining support groups, improving stress-management techniques and engaging in cognitive behavioral therapy.