Mesothelioma Support

Quick Summary

Mesothelioma patients and families can access support for the emotional, financial, and other difficulties that come with a diagnosis. Mesothelioma support options include in-person groups, VA benefits, end-of-life care, and more. Learn more about accessing support for mesothelioma.

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Types of Support Available for Mesothelioma

Dealing with a mesothelioma diagnosis is never easy, but taking advantage of support resources can help ease the burden.

Video Summary: Registered Nurse Amy Fair discusses the emotional stages that a patient may go through after getting a mesothelioma diagnosis. View Transcript.

I’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, now what?

When someone’s first diagnosed with mesothelioma, it’s not uncommon for them to go through the same stages that one goes through with a cancer diagnosis, because mesothelioma is a cancer.

Fear, anxiety, at one point they’ll go through acceptance, but all the stages are very important to go to just to get through to the acceptance point. All those other unfortunate feelings such as fear and anxiety are part of the process.

Mesothelioma support comes in many forms:

  • Support groups: Support groups can help patients and families find hope from others affected by this devastating cancer.
  • Family support: Family members struggling to watch their loved one battle cancer may benefit from mesothelioma support groups designed for family and caregivers.
  • Veterans support options: Veterans with mesothelioma can access financial and medical benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
  • Other forms of support: In-home nurses, hospice care, financial resources, and travel services can help mesothelioma patients get the care they need.

Patients and families can access these support resources to reduce stress, afford medical care, and feel less alone after a mesothelioma diagnosis.

Mesothelioma Support Groups

Veterans and their families can search for in-person and online mesothelioma support groups to help them cope with the difficult feelings that often accompany a mesothelioma diagnosis.

While mesothelioma has unique challenges, general cancer support groups are far more common and provide many of the same benefits of a mesothelioma-specific group.

Local Support Groups

In-person mesothelioma support groups offer a more personal connection than phone or online groups. These local groups will likely be made up of people who are being treated at the same cancer center.

Some local support groups include:

  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital Mesothelioma Orientation Group

    This is an in-person support group for patients who have just been diagnosed with mesothelioma. The group is led by doctors, social workers, chaplain staff, and researchers.

  • CancerCare

    CancerCare is an organization that provides various support services to cancer patients and their caregivers, including in-person support. While they operate out of New York, they can also help you find face-to-face support in your area.

  • Cancer Support Community

    This non-profit organization provides patients and their loved ones with care information and a support network. They have over 170 locations nationwide and tailor support to your needs, whether it be in-person, online, or over the phone.

Phone Support Groups

With phone support groups, travel is not necessary, and you can still get a sense of connection from speaking directly with others in real-time.

Depending on the phone support group, you can either speak with several group members at an appointed time or have one-on-one calls.

Some phone support groups include:

  • Cancer Support Helpline

    A general helpline for those who have cancer, this resource offers a toll-free 24/7 phone number for information and support.

  • CanCare

    This cancer support community is composed of volunteers who are cancer survivors and offers one-on-one support via phone, text, email, or in person.

Online Support Groups

Online mesothelioma support groups offer anonymity and flexibility while still giving participants a sense of community. With tools like social media, finding online mesothelioma support groups has never been easier.

Online mesothelioma support groups include:

  • Cure Mesothelioma: A public Facebook group by the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation) for anyone affected by or seeking to help those with mesothelioma
  • Warriors Voices: A private Facebook group for mesothelioma patient support
  • Caregiver Conversations: A private Facebook group for mesothelioma caregivers

Mesothelioma Family and Caregiver Support

Support also exists for family members, friends, and caregivers of those diagnosed with mesothelioma. These groups not only provide emotional support — their members often share valuable resources on new treatments, mesothelioma specialists, and more.

Caregivers often forego their own needs to help a loved one with mesothelioma. This can cause overwhelming stress and harm physical and mental health, which often makes someone a less effective caregiver.

Support for caregivers includes:

  • The Pacific Mesothelioma Center offers caregiver support groups that are conducted once a week over the phone
  • The Meso Foundation offers Facebook groups for caregivers

Mesothelioma Support for Veterans

Veterans account for roughly 1 in 3 mesothelioma cases in the United States each year. Those who developed mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos during military service may be eligible for benefits from the VA.

Veterans may be able to receive mesothelioma support from the following VA benefits:

  • Disability compensation
  • Emotional support helpline
  • Health care benefits
  • VA hospital support groups

To receive VA benefits for mesothelioma, veterans must provide their military service records and a statement from a doctor stating there is a connection between their cancer and their military service. Veterans must also have been dishonorably discharged.

Other Types of Mesothelioma Support

Financial Support

  • CancerCare offers financial assistance programs that help patients and their families pay for treatments. They also offer transportation, lodging, and pet assistance help. Patients who want to apply for financial assistance must meet certain requirements.
  • Mesothelioma law firms specialize in helping victims of mesothelioma receive legal compensation. Mesothelioma lawyers can also help veterans track the history of their asbestos exposure as it relates to their mesothelioma.

Medical Support

Mesothelioma Hospice Care

Hospice care is typically end-of-life care that can be done at hospitals, special facilities, or at home. Mesothelioma hospice care is reserved for terminally ill patients whose care is focused on keeping them comfortable, both physically and emotionally.

Hospice care services include:

  • Hospice Foundation of America
  • National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

In-Home Nursing Care

Being a caregiver for someone with mesothelioma can be stressful and time-consuming. An in-home nurse can ease the burden of caregiving, allowing caregivers to take care of day-to-day tasks — and themselves.

The VA provides Homemaker and Home Health Aide Care for qualifying veterans.

Travel and Transportation

Veterans with mesothelioma often need to travel for medical care if they are getting treatment at one of the few VA mesothelioma cancer centers in the country.

Travel and transportation expenses can quickly add up, especially if patients and their families must pay to stay near a hospital for weeks or months during mesothelioma treatment and recovery.

The VA and other programs provide transportation support for mesothelioma patients:

  • VA Beneficiary Travel program: This program offers reimbursement to qualifying veterans and caregivers for travel expenses to and from approved health care appointments.
  • Paratransit services: If you are disabled, there are paratransit services that offer door-to-door transportation. You can look online or dial 211 to find these services.
  • Medical transportation: Medicaid covers travel to doctor’s appointments as a non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) benefit. Some private insurances may also cover NEMT, but be sure to check with your provider.

Community Support

Community-based mesothelioma groups are composed of volunteers and everyday people who voice the concerns, triumphs, and latest news in the mesothelioma community.

Mesothelioma community support organizations include:

Mesothelioma community support has achieved efforts such as the International Symposium on Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma, Mesothelioma Awareness Day, and National Asbestos Awareness Week.

Access Mesothelioma Support for Veterans

Veterans with mesothelioma and their loved ones are not alone. Support groups, financial and medical resources, and concerned communities can help lessen the burden of those struggling with this deadly cancer.

Look for a mesothelioma support group in the following ways:

  • Talk to your doctor or medical staff
  • Ask other patients at your treatment center
  • Check mesothelioma cancer center websites or call and ask if they host any mesothelioma support groups
  • Search online for mesothelioma support groups

For help finding support resources, reach out to our team of Patient Advocates today at (877) 450-8973. Or request a free Mesothelioma Veterans Packet.

Veterans Support Team
Todd Gersten, MD PhotoReviewed by:Todd Gersten, MD

Double Board-Certified Oncologist and Hematologist

  • Fact-Checked
  • Editor

Todd Gersten, MD is a double board-certified medical oncologist and hematologist specializing in general adult oncology and hematologic disease. He is a physician partner with the Florida Cancer Specialists and practices in Wellington, Florida.

Dr. Todd Gersten is an independently paid medical reviewer.

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.

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