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What is the Unique Psychological Impact of Mesothelioma?

When mesothelioma patients receive their diagnosis, they often have a difficult road ahead of them. Mesothelioma, a rare cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, can cause painful physical symptoms including chest pain, persistent cough, abdominal pain, and difficulty breathing. A mesothelioma diagnosis can also take a heavy psychological toll, not just on patients but also on their loved ones. A recent study from the United Kingdom reveals some of the unique mental health challenges faced by those suffering from mesothelioma.


A research team from the University of Sheffield evaluated profiles of mesothelioma patients and their caregivers spanning four decades. Because of the rarity of the disease, researchers had to pull patient data reaching back to 1981 in order to assemble a group large enough to draw conclusions. This review showed that mesothelioma patients and those close to them experience many of the same mental health challenges as those of other cancer patients, but that there are some concerns specific to those suffering from mesothelioma.


A cancer diagnosis of any kind carries a heavy emotional burden. Cancer causes a lot of uncertainty for both patients and their loved ones, and as the disease progresses, chronic pain and disability can upend a cancer patient’s life. Patients often experience anxiety, distress, and depression as they suffer through painful symptoms and mourn the lives they had before their diagnosis. Caregivers experience these things as well, as they watch someone they care for suffer and take on numerous additional responsibilities to care for them.


How is Mesothelioma Unique?


There are fewer than 3,000 Americans diagnosed with mesothelioma each year. This scarcity can make mesothelioma patients feel isolated, as there are smaller communities that they can lean on for support. Many people do not have a clear understanding of the disease called mesothelioma, unless they have been personally impacted by it. Despite this sense of feeling alone by patients and their families, researchers at the University of Sheffield observed that many mesothelioma patients and their caregivers reported similar concerns.


One common source of distress for mesothelioma patients and their families is time. Many mesothelioma patients are symptom-free in the early stages of the disease, and when they do begin to exhibit symptoms, it can be difficult to get a clear diagnosis; once they receive a diagnosis, they are often left with a short life expectancy. Treatment for mesothelioma can also place heavy demands on patients’ and caregivers’ time. Those dealing with mesothelioma are often burdened by negative thoughts and feelings, which can be compounded by the limited treatment options available to them. Many of the patients and caregivers also reported that they did not receive enough communication from their doctors. The final conclusion of the research team was that further study was needed to fully understand the mental and emotional burden of mesothelioma and provide patients and caregivers with the help they need.


Philadelphia Mesothelioma Lawyers at Shein Law Advocate for Those Affected By a Mesothelioma Diagnosis and its Psychological Impact


If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, the last thing you need to worry about is your financial security. The knowledgeable, experienced Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyers at Shein Law are committed to holding those responsible for your asbestos exposure accountable and fighting for the compensation you deserve for your suffering. Call us at 877-743-4652 or contact us online to discuss your case. With offices in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.


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