Is it important to psychologically evaluate a mesothelioma patient and their caregiver? A recent study believes so.
The study focused on how both patients and their caregivers cope with a malignant mesothelioma diagnosis and prognosis. It encompassed some of the psychological factors, such as anxieties and fears that can have an impact on them.
Interviewing Mesothelioma Warriors and Caregivers
During the study, 10 patients with malignant mesothelioma and 9 of their caregivers were recruited for interviews. Both patients and their caregivers were interviewed together by clinical psychologists.
Interviews for all of the participants lasted approximately 45 minutes. To avoid getting insufficient data and only yes/no answers, the trained psychologists asked a series of open-ended questions.
Interviews covered a patient’s
- Asbestos exposure
- Work history
- History of treatments
- Impact of their disease to them personally
- Impact of their disease on relationships with family and loved ones
The study also covered strategies on how a patient and their caregiver can handle the sensitive subjects of end of life, death, and survival.
“Nothing Is Like It Was”
The interviews revealed that both patients and their caregivers mourn and grieve in different ways. In some scenarios, the phycologists noted changes in their attitudes and points of mood deflection.
Receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis can be life-altering. During the study, caregivers and patients were asked how the disease impacted their daily lives. Researchers discovered that all of their answers tried to make the best of the situation.
“What Will Become of Us?”
Researchers also asked questions that covered areas of worry and concern for both the patient and their caregiver. Data suggested that patients are concerned about how their diagnosis impacts the lives of their caregiver. It also revealed that a patient’s caregiver witnessed a change in their loved one after receiving their prognosis.
On contrary to what caregivers encountered, many patients expressed that they are doing their best to stay positive.
Improving Communication Between Patients and Caregivers
Researchers determined that it is easy for patients and caregivers to talk about the facts about mesothelioma, treatment, and their medical journey. On the other hand, emotions were harder to manage when talking about how this type of cancer has affected them personally.
Presently, researchers believe that health care services and interventions can help strengthen communication and the overall well-being of patients and caregivers. However, more research will need to be conducted.
You’re Not Alone – Help Is Available
A mesothelioma diagnosis can be hard to accept. It is important that patients and their caregivers stay strong and know that they are not alone.
There is help available in the form of support groups. Patients and caregivers can attend meetings in their community or even online. These groups provide an opportunity for individuals to share their experience and to surround themselves with others that can relate to them.
Hope resonates in the stories of survivors. Many mesothelioma warriors are rising above statistics. By taking their prognosis into their own hands, patients are even reaching a state of remission. You can learn more about defying the odds in our free Mesothelioma Survivors Guide.
- “The Less I Think About It, the Better I Feel”: A Thematic Analysis of the Subjective Experience of Malignant Mesothelioma Patients and Their Caregivers. Frontiers Media S.A. Retrieved from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00205/full. Accessed: 04/13/2018.
- National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29515509. Accessed: 04/13/2018.
Sources & Author