Mesothelioma Pain Management and Patient Care
Palliative Care and Personal Care for Mesothelioma
Early diagnosis and treatment can keep asbestos cancer at bay, perhaps for years. Unfortunately, mesothelioma is often not detected until advanced stages, when surgery, radiation and chemotherapy have limited impact or cannot be tolerated because of the person’s weakened condition.
We understand how physically painful and emotionally devastating this disease is. Attorney Michael Throneberry personally experienced this ordeal, from his father-in-law’s diagnosis and death from mesothelioma in a span of 16 months. He is intimately familiar with the cruel progression of the disease and the toll it takes on the person and the family.
Our goal is supporting clients in getting a diagnosis and getting treatment for the cancer, its symptoms and the personal aftermath. We work fast and diligently to secure compensation for the medical care and financial impact.
Pain Management for Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is very painful, especially in the advanced stages, when the pain can be unbearable to the point of delirium. Pain management is a critical element of mesothelioma treatment. It may involve:
- Pleurodesis or paracentesis to relieve fluid build-up (effusion) in the chest cavity or abdominal cavity
- Radiation or chemotherapy to kill cancer cells pressing on nerves (newer methods are more targeted and minimize the side effects)
- Oral or intravenous medications
- Non-drug and alternative therapies Epidural implants — A catheter is surgically implanted within the spinal canal to deliver powerful painkillers directly to block pain signals to the brain. Afterward, the implants can be controlled outside of a hospital setting, allowing patients some mobility to continue with their lives.
It is important to talk with your doctors about the nature and severity of pain so that they can take appropriate steps to alleviate it. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the effectiveness and side effects of different remedies.
Cancer Pain and Quality of Life
To those living with mesothelioma, life is precious. When pain becomes part of one’s daily life, however, those days are diminished and quality of life is eroded. The effects of acute and chronic cancer pain create a domino effect in all aspects of living:
- Insomnia or disturbed sleep
- Impaired ability to work
- Constant fatigue
- Depression or sadness Feelings of isolation or loneliness
- Decreased appetite
- No joy in simple pleasures
- Uncomfortable travel or cancelled vacations
- Exhaustion of family and friends who are caregivers
Mesothelioma pain can also undermine the person’s ability — and will — to fight the cancer. Suppressed appetite means less nutrition, which in turn leads to exhaustion, inactivity and depression. As this cycle continues, a person may become more vulnerable to illness and infection, and less able to tolerate the necessary cancer treatments.
Emotional Support To Help Ease The Pain
Family emotional support is just as important as treatment and medication in dealing with pain. Fear, anxiety and depression can magnify pain felt by a mesothelioma patient, and by improving overall health these symptoms can be minimized.
Mesothelioma care should focus on:
- Helping the patient accept and understand the diagnosis
- Addressing end-of-life issues
- Understanding the effects of the diagnosis on the patient’s family
- Making informed decisions on treatment options
The Psychological Aspects of Mesothelioma
A diagnosis of mesothelioma is frightening, and the emotional reactions can be counterproductive when time is of the essence. It is important for victims to come to terms with the illness to face treatment, and for family members to understand the psychological stages and symptoms and support the person through the process:
- Shock can inhibit the person from comprehending important information and moving forward with treatment.
- Denial can be paralyzing if the person pretends nothing is wrong, doesn’t want to discuss the disease, or refuses treatment. Often it is family and friends who are in denial, leaving the person without vital emotional support.
- Fear of dying is a normal reaction, but it can lead to depression and anxiety that interfere with treating the disease. The person needs to know the truth about life expectancy, but also needs to know many people survive for years with a decent quality of life.
- Fear of the pain associated with treatment is very common. Patients hear horror stories about chemotherapy or radiation sickness, but those tales are outdated. Modern treatment options have less severe side effects. Your doctor is an important source of information about treatment details, so be sure to ask all the questions you may have.
- Anger is a natural reaction, but often it is misplaced and directed at loved ones, doctors and nurses who are providing care and support. Venting frustrations is healthy, and your support people should not take your outbursts personally. But it may help to speak to friends and family when you are not as angry, or ask them to read these pages if you can’t talk about your feelings without the anger getting in the way.
- Psychological counseling, or a discussion with a spiritual advisor, can be tremendously helpful for both the patient and the supporters. You all will need strength for the hard road ahead.
If you suspect mesothelioma or have a positive diagnosis, consult your physician immediately and then contact Throneberry Law Group. We offer a free consultation, and our lawyers represent clients nationwide.