No doubt about it, a mesothelioma diagnosis is tough. The rare cancer is typically diagnosed late, which means the prognosis is often poor. Doctors and researchers keep working, but there’s no known cure. Still, there are plenty of reasons to remain hopeful.
Here are five of those reasons.
Your circumstances are unique
The first thing to remember is that the average prognosis may not fit you. After all, no one is average. Averages are the summary pictures of large groups of people previously diagnosed. Your situation is unique, and your experiences will vary based on your:
- Type of cancer
- Cancer cell type
- General fitness
Researchers and doctors keep working on better treatments
Your prognosis today is better than it would have been one or more decades ago. And it may yet improve. The recent approval of new treatments and the positive results from some clinical studies continue to suggest meso victims may enjoy longer lifespans and better quality of life. Even if your doctor isn’t aware of the latest research, there are ways for you to reach out and see what new options the leading treatment centers are exploring.
Many people have already beaten the odds
There are plenty of survivor stories. While they don’t always get a lot of attention, they serve as helpful reminders that it’s possible to beat the odds. More than that, they offer some valuable lessons about the type of people who do. Such was the case with one psychotherapist who received his diagnosis in his 70s. He credited his longevity largely to his:
- Positive attitude
- Healthy lifestyle
- Active engagement with his doctors and treatment
- Continued study of his cancer and new treatment options
It’s possible to learn how to cope more effectively
No one can or should expect you to “just know” how to respond to your diagnosis. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer, which means relatively few people will ever experience exactly what you’re experiencing. However, as the American Society of Clinical Oncology notes, there are different ways you can learn to cope more effectively. Some of these include:
- Recognizing and addressing your fears
- Asking for and accepting help from others
- Adopting healthier lifestyle choices
- Thinking through your options and proceeding confidently with your chosen course
This last point is especially important when you meet with your doctor to choose a treatment plan. Cancer treatment often hurts as much as, if not more than, the cancer itself, but you need to stick with your treatment to get the most out of it.
You are not alone
You may feel alone after your diagnosis. Certainly, it likely separates you in some ways from the other people around you. But, in other ways, it may serve as motivation to reach out and better appreciate the time you have with your friends and family. You can live intentionally, and you don’t have to do it alone. You can ask for help and support from the people you love, as well as the professionals able to offer you medical and financial support.