Mesothelioma is a disease that renders people weak and unable to carry out their everyday lives. Receiving a cancer diagnosis is in itself very difficult for patients, their friends, and family. However, mental distress can get a lot while dealing with the diagnosis and fluctuations in physical health due to the disease and its treatments. Sometimes the mental effects of coping with cancer can be more complicated than dealing with the physical symptoms.
These effects can worsen if the patient has to worry about the financial setback of this diagnosis.
Depending on the cancer stage, your treatment may differ, and some treatments cost more than others. Any small medical bill can quickly drain your savings, so a cancer diagnosis is a whole other ballgame. Additionally, the nature and circumstances of asbestos exposure can make the entire scenario even more distressing. As a result, it is natural to feel anxious, angry, and depressed.
While there’s little you can do for recovery, treatment is still crucial to prolong the lifespan, improve quality of life and alleviate symptoms. Therefore, mesothelioma patients can file a case to receive compensation in such cases. They can demand compensation for exposure and hold responsible parties liable for damages. However, to do this, you need the help of a qualified mesothelioma lawyer who can help identify the cause of exposure and work on a settlement offer or help win the case.
Despite the monetary compensation for treatment, the diagnosis can still impact your mental health in many ways.
Here we have listed the three most common ways.
Anger and Fear
For a cancer patient, it’s not unusual to feel anger or fear. Finding out that you have a rare form of untreatable cancer can make even the happiest person resentful. As introduced by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, anger is one of the five stages of grief. Mesothelioma completely changes a patient’s routine tasks and way of living, making them bitter and annoyed. Anger can get in the way of their treatment as it may cause high blood pressure, induce anxiety and lead to headaches. Its important to recognize anger, acknowledge it and release it healthily instead of letting it fester to a violent stage.
Almost everyone fears a cancer diagnosis after getting exposed to asbestos. This emotion may stem from the fear of pain patients are likely to experience during treatment or even from dying. The best way to deal with this emotion is to stay informed with facts and accurate information. Being unaware of something induces fear, so to lessen your worries, it may help knowing what to expect.
Depression and Anxiety
The most common mental health conditions often diagnosed in cancer patients include depression, anxiety, and coping issues. Moreover, cancer patients and cancer survivors often have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after their diagnosis or cancer treatment. These can lead to anxiety and panic attacks due to the uncertainty of the outcomes.
Chemo brain is a term used to describe the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatment. It results in patients feeling overwhelming mental fog and fatigue, hindering their daily life.
If you are a mesothelioma patient or anyone in your friends and family has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, look out for these symptoms and seek immediate help.
- Agitation or restlessness
- The feeling of worthlessness, guilt, or helplessness
- Suicidal thoughts
- Loss of interest in activities
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Trouble concentrating, remembering, and making decisions
- Sleep issues
Depressive episodes not only impact your daily life functions but may also hinder treatment progress, often leading to setbacks due to the body’s poor response toward treatment.
Cancer has a huge impact on a patient’s emotional well-being as a life-threatening disease. The ever-present pain of progressing symptoms, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery can make them more vulnerable to suicide. The disease’s poor prognosis and reduced life expectancy cause hopelessness in most patients who cannot see a way out through the darkness. Mesothelioma treatment requires regular regimens, multiple medicines, and many hospital visits. Patients with suicidal thoughts may not be inclined to follow up on these, dramatically impacting their diagnosis and even poorer prognosis.
Mesothelioma patients experiencing severe signs of mental health decline can talk to mental health professionals to understand and come to terms with this major life-changing event. Another way to make it through is by joining support groups or talking to people with similar health conditions to broaden their perspective and get a fresh outlook on life.
However, a professional assessment is necessary to determine which type of therapy suits the patient.
It is natural to go through a mental health decline after the diagnosis. However, it’s essential to understand that help is available. Counseling is an excellent option for cancer patients experiencing a mental health decline. You can ask the doctor to arrange for a counselor who has had experience in dealing with cancer patients. These counselors can give you a safe space to open up about your feelings and cope with the diagnosis and treatment. Moreover, the counseling sessions will also help you learn about different coping strategies that make everyday life a little easier.