How Even Mesothelioma Patients Can “Own Their Cancer”

April 8, 2014  |  Mesothelioma

A popular topic in cancer recovery and patient treatment options today is “owning your cancer.” Or: encouraging cancer patients to take charge of their diagnosis, not just listening to the first doctor, but actively participating in their cancer treatment so that they are in charge. But when it comes to lethal and stealth cancers like mesothelioma, can you “own your cancer?”

We think so. Here’s how:

  1. Understand that it is still your life. Mesothelioma may have come in, quickly and seemingly out of nowhere, but you are still the same person you were pre-diagnosis, and your family and loved ones are still there for you, if not even more so now.
  2. Because it is still your life, and you are an adult, you are still able to make your own choices. Just like with any other cancer, mesothelioma is not a cancer that requires patients to totally succumb to the wills of whichever doctor they meet first. Instead, with a mesothelioma diagnosis, you are encouraged to seek out second and even third consults, searching for a physician until you have found “The One,” the physician with whom you connect best and with whom you and your family can work with to help you make the most of your treatment and your time.
  3. When you are looking for your mesothelioma doctor, see if they welcome your questions. See if they are interested in educating you on what is going in. Do they have a sense of humor or are they totally buttoned-up? Do you feel rushed while talking to the doctor? Are they easily accessible to you? Does that matter to you? All of these questions add up to whether or not you will reap the most benefit out of your physician.

But here is where mesothelioma patients differ from other cancer patients and where the “take charge of your cancer” advice is particularly distinct: Mesothelioma did not come out of thin air for you. Instead, mesothelioma cancer has one cause, asbestos. More often than not, asbestos exposure occurs because of negligence and a mishandling of necessary safety precautions.

That means there is another step in the “own your cancer” advice that comes with mesothelioma, a step that may be the most important one for you and your family. Some cancers may require the patient to step in and find their best treatment option, because the patients have a strong chance of survival or even many treatment options to chose from, all with different strengths and disadvantages. Yet mesothelioma patients are usually not given that gift with their diagnosis. Instead, time is often much too short after diagnosis and because of that mesothelioma requires a legal resource too in order to make sure that one’s  family is provided for, and to make sure that the reason why you developed mesothelioma is never forgotten: You developed mesothelioma because of exposure to asbestos.

Even if you have no idea where that exposure came from, it is up to you to stand up, to take charge of your cancer and to make sure that you and your family are not unduly saddled with medical expenses and other related costs. You can step up by talking to a mesothelioma lawyer to see if you have a potential mesothelioma lawsuit. If you do, act on it.

These are the hard facts of a mesothelioma diagnosis and how you can step up to take control of your cancer. It may be difficult, but it’s even more difficult in the long run to simply do nothing and let the cancer control you and your family instead.

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