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Don’t forget about mental health after a mesothelioma diagnosis

Men are more likely to have untreated depression

Asbestos was — and is — found in predominately male-dominated fields. From Navy shipyards to demolition and construction, for decades men worked around asbestos without proper safety equipment. Many have now been diagnosed with mesothelioma because of their exposure.

Mesothelioma requires aggressive treatment, often including chemotherapy. Chemotherapy can cause depression and fatigue as side effects, among many others. And, of course, a terminal cancer diagnosis is itself an extremely difficult thing to face. 

Men are less likely to seek treatment for depression

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, men are more likely to appear angry or aggressive when dealing with depression, instead of sad. Depression can therefore be harder to diagnose in men, even for doctors.

Men are also less likely to talk about depression. This means that many men who have mesothelioma are also dealing with untreated depression.

Treating depression may help mesothelioma patients live longer

While it is worthwhile to treat depression to improve quality of life, several studies suggest that treating depression can also help improve survival rates among cancer patients.

The bottom line – talk to your doctor about mental health after a mesothelioma diagnosis

Mental health can be hard to discuss. Still, depression is a very real medical condition, and treating it as part of an overall strategy to fight mesothelioma makes sense. Treating depression can improve quality of life and may help people with mesothelioma live longer, healthier lives. Your doctor understands that depression is a medical condition, not a personal failure. And your loved ones will appreciate that you are doing all you can to fight this devastating disease. 

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