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4 Steps to Take if Diagnosed with Mesothelioma

While any cancer diagnosis is life-changing, some types of the disease are worse than others. 

The American Cancer Society projected 1.9 million new cancer cases and 609,360 deaths for 2022. When it comes to a rare and aggressive form of cancer known as mesothelioma, 2,500 to 3,000 people are diagnosed every year. It usually takes decades for symptoms to manifest themselves. And the disease often progresses to an advanced stage before it’s discovered. That can complicate efforts to successfully manage it and give the patient a ray of hope.

Mesothelioma is primarily caused by exposure to asbestos -- a natural and manmade substance found in many products ranging from flooring to roofing and siding to attic insulation.

If you’re ever diagnosed with the disease, you must know how to manage it. Continue reading to learn four things to do following a mesothelioma diagnosis.

  1. Stay in Touch with Your Doctor and Any Specialists They Recommend

A mesothelioma diagnosis means you need to work with your doctor and any professionals they recommend. You can expect your primary care provider to schedule you for multiple tests on the heels of a mesothelioma diagnosis. Doing so is essential to verify the extent of the disease, figure out the right medical treatments, and determine what lifestyle changes you may need to make.

  1. Learn About Various Treatment Possibilities

When discussing treatment options with your doctor, you’ll get detailed information about what these options entail and the odds of success for each one. Since mesothelioma is an aggressive type of cancer, treatments may need to be aggressive. And because it’s usually diagnosed only after the onset of symptoms, life expectancy rates after a diagnosis aren’t that great.

Depending on the source, survival rates after a diagnosis are usually in the range of four months to one and a half years. But treatment options are improving, and some people have lived north of a decade after being diagnosed with mesothelioma. Considering the relatively dire survival rates, you’ll want to carefully weigh treatment options without delay. They include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Your doctor will recommend your best course of action and equip you with the information you need to make informed decisions.

  1. Read up on Mesothelioma

Most people have no clue what mesothelioma is and probably won’t unless they’re diagnosed with the cancer or know someone who has been. That's one reason it pays to conduct research post-diagnosis. You should understand the disease to know what you're up against and how to meet the formidable challenge head-on. 

By learning about the impact of mesothelioma on your body, you'll better be able to make decisions about necessary treatments and any lifestyle or dietary changes. You can ask your doctor to recommend resources that can assist you. 

When researching, consider whether you may have legal grounds to seek compensation. You may qualify for compensation if your disease was caused by asbestos exposure in the workforce. Do some research and seek legal counsel to see if you have the grounds to pursue legal action.

  1. Don’t Go It Alone

People react to a cancer diagnosis in various ways. But when the disease is as aggressive as mesothelioma, you'll want to surround yourself with supportive and helpful people. In addition to being around friends and family, consider getting extra help. Seeing a therapist or joining a support group for other people going through what you're going through is a good idea.

If diagnosed with mesothelioma, you need to take action immediately. The prognosis isn’t favorable, but the right treatment and game plan can give you a better outcome. Serious issues like cancer are one good reason to see your doctor regularly -- so that no health issues go undiagnosed until it’s too late. The sooner issues are found, the better your odds of managing the problem and enjoying a higher quality of life.

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