Any kind of serious medical diagnosis is going to be a shock, but that’s especially true when you’re faced with something like mesothelioma, which can be treated but not totally cured.
When you’re trying to absorb a lot of emotions at once, it helps to have answers to some of the most important questions patients have. Here’s where to start:
1. What kind of mesothelioma is it?
There are basically four different types of mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma affects the lungs and is the most common. Peritoneal mesothelioma is second-most common and affects the abdominal area. Pericardial mesothelioma, which affects the heart, and testicular mesothelioma are both quite rare.
2. What caused the disease?
Doctors aren’t entirely sure about the link between asbestos exposure and both pericardial or testicular mesothelioma. However, both pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma are likely caused by asbestos exposure. If you ever worked in an industry that has a high rate of exposure to asbestos, that’s probably where the illness started. Second-hand asbestos exposure also shouldn’t be discounted.
3. What stage is the mesothelioma in?
Cancer “stages” refer to how far the disease has spread. Understanding whether or not your cancer has spread (metastasized) to your lymph nodes or other organs past its point of origin can help you make better plans for your future.
4. What are the treatment options?
Every situation is different. Your options may vary greatly depending on where the cancer is, the stage of its progression, your other health conditions (if you have any) and your personal belief system. You cannot make informed decisions, however, until you know more.
Because cancer treatment is expensive and the disease will, without doubt, take a toll both on you and your family, you may want to find out more about the compensation available. Asbestos trusts have been set aside for the victims of long-ago exposure.