Veterans and Mesothelioma Recovery

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Even though mesothelioma is highly aggressive, recovery may be possible. In some cases, previous patients had been able to survive for years or decades with this disease after undergoing treatments. Learn how veterans can access high-quality care and mesothelioma recovery plans as part of their military benefits.

Is Mesothelioma Recovery Possible?

Yes, long-term recovery after a mesothelioma diagnosis is possible in certain situations. Although mesothelioma is generally considered incurable, it is treatable. If the cancer is caught early on, more treatments will be available and a long-term recovery may be possible.

Fortunately, veterans who developed this cancer may be eligible for exclusive treatment and mesothelioma recovery plans from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Our team can help eligible you file for mesothelioma VA benefits today so you can access this care.

Getting VA Benefits can be simple.
  • VA Disability Claims
  • Survivor Benefits
  • Finding Veteran Doctors

Help with VA Benefits

How Do You Recover From Mesothelioma?

To start the mesothelioma recovery process, you need to get a proper diagnosis and work with doctors to develop a treatment plan. This will be most effective if the cancer is caught early on.

If your cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, mesothelioma treatments may be able to prolong your life by removing as much of the cancer from your body as possible. However, it’s important to note that there are treatments available no matter when you are diagnosed.

After treatments, doctors can guide you through the healing process and recommend further action if the cancer continues to spread.

There is no cure for mesothelioma, but some patients can reach a “stable” condition where the cancer won’t spread anymore. In these cases, the patients may be able to reach long-term survival of several years or even decades.

Treatments & Mesothelioma Recovery

There are different types of mesothelioma treatments that doctors recommend based on a person’s diagnosis. Treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or some combination of the three.

Each treatment also has side effects that can affect a patient’s health. It is up to doctors and other medical professionals to help patients heal and avoid any complications.

Below, learn about common mesothelioma treatments and a patient’s expected health outlook after receiving them.

Mesothelioma Surgery Recovery

There are several different types of surgeries that are commonly performed on mesothelioma patients.

Here are the most well-known surgeries:

  • Extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP): EPP involves the removal of a lung, the lining of the lung and heart, and a portion of the diaphragm. The surgery is often done in conjunction with radiation or chemotherapy. The surgery often requires a two-week stay in the hospital with a recovery time of six to eight weeks post-surgery.
  • Pleurectomy with decortication (P/D): P/D is a surgical treatment that removes the lining of the lung and visible tumors, but leaves the lung itself in its place. Generally, patients stay in the hospital for about a week after the surgery, and recovery at home afterwards takes several weeks.
  • Cytoreductive surgery with HIPEC: Cytoreductive surgery with HIPEC involves surgically removing cancerous tumors from the abdominal cavity, and then soaking the cavity in chemotherapy chemicals. The chemotherapy helps to kill any cancer cells that remain after the tumors have been removed. Most patients stay in the hospital for about ten days, with recovery being relatively short afterward.

Mesothelioma Chemotherapy Recovery

Chemotherapies are anti-cancer drugs that are often used in conjunction with surgery for mesothelioma patients. Some of the possible side effects of chemotherapy include hair loss, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, and easy bruising.

Generally, the side effects fade away after treatment is complete but some patients may experience lasting symptoms. Medical professionals typically help patients manage the side effects while treatment is ongoing.

Recovery from Radiation for Mesothelioma

Radiation therapies use X-rays or high-energy particles in order to kill cancer cells that cause mesothelioma. Possible side effects from radiation therapy include fatigue, hair loss, and sunburn. The side effects may be more intense if radiation therapy is done in conjunction with chemotherapy.

Other Mesothelioma Recovery Options

Before, during, and after mesothelioma treatments, doctors will likely recommend additional steps to manage a patient’s health.

These steps may include:

  • Changing diet to improve nutrition
  • Developing a new exercise plan
  • Joining a support group or working with a counselor

Mesothelioma patients can get a better idea of what to expect by speaking to their medical team about their specific needs and individual recovery options.

Veterans Resources for Mesothelioma Recovery

Veterans with mesothelioma are in a unique position, as the VA has a wide range of benefits exclusively for them.

These benefits include:

  • VA Health Care: If a veteran’s mesothelioma diagnosis is linked to their service, they are eligible for free or low-cost VA health care. The VA can assist veterans with access to the best doctors and care.
  • VA mesothelioma treatment centers: The VA has over 1,000 treatment facilities throughout the country. However, the top VA mesothelioma treatment centers are the Los Angeles VA and Boston VA.
  • VA mesothelioma doctors: Dr. Robert Cameron of the Los Angeles VA Health Care System and Dr. Avi Lebenthal of the Boston VA Health Care System are considered the top mesothelioma doctors in the entire country.

How To Learn More About Mesothelioma Recovery

Mesothelioma recovery may be a possibility, and the VA and other medical resources can help in the recovery process. Veterans with mesothelioma and their loved ones can get help accessing VA benefits by speaking with Eric Hall, a VA-accredited lawyer and U.S. veteran.

Don’t wait — see if you can apply for VA benefits now. Our team can help you access your benefits and get top-quality mesothelioma health care.

Veterans Support Team
Christopher Dryfoos PhotoWritten by:

Contributing Author

Christopher Dryfoos is a journalist and member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA). As the grandson of the U.S. Navy’s first forensic pathologist, he aims to help veterans with mesothelioma access needed care.

View 1 Sources
  1. “Free Help Filing for VA Benefits - Connect With a Specialist.” Mesothelioma Veterans Center, www.mesotheliomaveterans.org/va-benefits-help/.