For weeks, the United States has grappled with the COVID-19 coronavirus. One group undergoing a significant amount of stress? People with cancer, including mesothelioma.
Thankfully, many organizations have become champions for cancer patients — providing emotional support and counseling to cancer patients.
This assistance is vital for people with mesothelioma. Fearful of a coronavirus infection while they’re immunocompromised, many have taken extreme precautions. Even with those safety measures, they likely are grappling with fear, depression and other internal hardships.
We at Mesothelioma Guide have spoken to patients — and family members of patients — who are looking for support services during the COVID-19 crisis. We want to help them, and those who haven’t reached out.
Below are a few support groups and resources available to you or your loved one. If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to reach out. We are here for you.
CancerCare Offers Hope During Social Isolation
The term we’ve all heard a lot lately is “social distancing.” Reputable health organizations define social distancing as limiting contact with other people. For mesothelioma patients, effective social distancing often requires complete isolation.
People with mesothelioma have compromised immune systems, which means their bodies are weaker and less prepared to fight off an infection. This is just one way COVID-19 affects people with mesothelioma.
This reality leads to high levels of stress for many people with mesothelioma and other cancers. It also results in social isolation, which can cause depression and anxiety.
CancerCare is one of the entities trying to reduce those troublesome feelings and emotions. The national organization provides free support to all people affected by cancer. The services are tailored for patients, survivors, caregivers and loved ones.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, CancerCare has tips to help people with mesothelioma practice social isolation while not sacrificing their mental health:
- Follow a schedule — Maintain as much of your usual routine as possible to feel accomplished.
- Engage in hobbies — Whatever you enjoy, whether it’s reading a book or watching TV, fill your day with positive events.
- Exercise, if possible — Even if you can’t go outside, any type of stretching or walking indoors is beneficial to your mental health
- Use technology for communication — Meet with loved ones in video calls, play online word games and use the internet for your social interactions.
CancerCare also has counselors and other support staff members available to speak with you, if needed. The organization’s HOPEline is a free service and provides access to a trained oncology social worker, who can help you through periods of distress during isolation.
CancerCare’s HOPEline is available Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (eastern time).
Earlier in 2020, CancerCare established a 12-week telephone support group for veterans with any type of cancer. The organization also offers travel grants and reimbursement for cancer patients who must travel for treatment and doctor visits.
Online Support Groups
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, many organizations have extended their resources to help as many people as possible. The primary goal is to assist cancer patients with the emotional and psychological toll of this health crisis.
A few of the organizations with resources for mesothelioma patients are:
- Cancer Support Community
- Esteemed medical facilities and Centers of Excellence
- The National Cancer Institute (NCI)
The Cancer Support Community is a free support network for cancer patients and their families. They have counselors available for immediate communication through the organization’s Cancer Support Helpline. Specialists are available from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
The University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Health System is one of many health institutions with remote services available to mesothelioma patients and their families. UCSF’s oncology social workers are accessible Monday through Friday, by phone or video conference, and can provide supportive care and psycho-oncology service.
The NCI’s Cancer Information Service is a free resource for mesothelioma patients and their loved ones. People with this cancer have many questions related to the coronavirus pandemic — including how to proceed with treatment.
The NCI service can answer these inquiries. The government-sponsored organization provides specialists via phone call or online chat, whichever the patient or family member prefers. Help is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (eastern time).
Advice From a Medical Professional
If you’re a mesothelioma patient — or the loved one of a patient — and worried about the coronavirus, you’re not alone.
Our staff at Mesothelioma Guide has communicated with numerous people affected by mesothelioma. They are feeling anxious, stressed and other negative emotions about the ongoing health crisis. They’re concerned about infection, worried about not receiving their life-saving treatment, and upset at the lengthy isolation they must endure.
Our experts are here for you. Our staff has compiled a list of the top questions from mesothelioma patients about the coronavirus — with answers to each.
Additionally, one of our patient advocates, Karen Ritter, is a registered nurse who regularly answers medical questions. She can provide tips on how to stay safe during the pandemic, reduce your fear, and preserve your mental health.
You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, call the phone number listed at the top of this page, or open the chat window and speak to her virtually. Whichever communication method you prefer, we at Mesothelioma Guide are here as a support option to help you through the coronavirus pandemic.
Sources & Author
- What Cancer Patients, Survivors and Caregivers Need to Know about the Coronavirus. Cancer Support Community. Retrieved from:
https://www.cancersupportcommunity.org/blog/2020/04/what-cancer-patients-survivors-and-caregivers-need. Accessed: 04/14/2020.
- FAQ: Coronavirus and Patients with Cancer. University of California San Francisco Health. Retrieved from:
https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/faq-covid-19-for-patients-with-cancer. Accessed: 04/14/2020.
- Coronavirus: What People with Cancer Should Know. National Cancer Institute. Retrieved from:
https://www.cancer.gov/contact/emergency-preparedness/coronavirus#i-participate-in-a-clinical-trial-at-a-medical-facility-what-should-i-do. Accessed: 04/14/2020.
Sources & Author