How can we improve mesothelioma patients’ quality of life, particularly once treatment ends?

That question was the center of the latest Mesothelioma Guide podcast, which included clinical psychologist and mental health expert Dr. Lara Traeger. She and the Massachusetts General Hospital oncology and psychology team started an innovative quality of life program explicitly for people with either mesothelioma or lung cancer.

The project — aptly named the “Transitions Program” — involves counseling sessions once treatment concludes to help patients make the transition back to their regular lives. Dr. Traeger joined the podcast to discuss the inspiration for the program and how it’ll work.

“What we do is meet with people right at the end of treatment and just talk openly about what their goals, hopes and expectations for after treatment,” Dr. Traeger said on the podcast interview. “They finish treatment and we give them a couple months to regain their footing. Then we get back together with them about six weeks after they finish treatment. That’s when we really begin the program and give four more sessions.”

Quality of life is a multi-layered topic within cancer treatment. Many studies focus on improving patients’ well-being and comfort while fighting their disease and receiving medical therapy.

The Massachusetts General project focuses on quality of life after treatment ends, which is a vulnerable time for mesothelioma survivors:

  • How will they adjust to no longer receiving consistent support from their medical team?
  • Will their relationships with family members and friends change?
  • Can they cope with the uncertainty of their cancer, including the possibility of recurrence?
  • What can they do to help them adjust to their post-treatment life?

These challenges, and more, are what Dr. Traeger hopes to address through the counseling.

“You might have the assumption that after treatment is over it’s a celebration and life goes back to the way it was,” Dr. Traeger said. “That may be the case sometimes and to some degree, but there are a lot of unexpected challenges that can happen after treatment is over. Our study is designed to help people navigate those unexpected challenges.”

If you live in the northeast and are looking for treatment, Massachusetts General Hospital is one of many in the region that help people with mesothelioma. Even if you live elsewhere in the country, our team can help you find a cancer center that prioritizes improving your life expectancy and quality of life. Email our patient advocate and registered nurse, Karen Ritter, at

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    Sources & Author

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About the Writer, Devin Golden

Devin Golden is the content writer for Mesothelioma Guide. He produces mesothelioma-related content on various mediums, including the Mesothelioma Guide website and social media channels. Devin's objective is to translate complex information regarding mesothelioma into informative, easily absorbable content to help patients and their loved ones.