Medically Reviewed By
Karen Ritter, RN BSN
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Why to Join a Mesothelioma Support Group
Support options for mesothelioma are usually provided by non-profit groups active in mesothelioma research. The resources range from support groups to handle the emotional toll of a cancer diagnosis to support events to raise awareness and funding for research.
While finding in-person support groups is difficult, the internet makes coming together much easier. Through online and in-person support groups, patients can share their stories and meet others going through the same hardships.
Support groups are important because they:
- Help build confidence in doctors and treatments
- Reduce the stress of the diagnosis
- Provide inspiration and hope
- Offer comfort and acceptance
- Give a sense of community
- Provide empathy among patients, family members and caregivers
Types of Mesothelioma Support Groups
There are support groups available for anyone affected by mesothelioma. This includes support groups for:
- Mesothelioma patients – People directly impacted by this cancer and struggling with the emotional and physical toll of the cancer diagnosis, treatments, survival rates and more
- Mesothelioma survivors – Survivors of cancer deserving emotional support due to the anxiety of cancer returning, plus the emotional and physical toll their battle required
- Family members of patients – Family members enduring the mesothelioma diagnosis and treatment process with their loved one, which can take an emotional and physical toll on all involved
- Mesothelioma caregivers – Caregiving for a mesothelioma patient is tough and caregivers, including family members, friends and medical professionals, deserve support
- Veterans with mesothelioma – Veterans make up more than one-third of people with mesothelioma and deserve specialized support groups tailored to military veterans
Mesothelioma Support Foundations
Mesothelioma Guide compiled a list of support foundations that work with patients and family members. If you’re affected by mesothelioma – either as a patient or a patient’s loved one – you can rely on these foundations for free resources and emotional support.
The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation
The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation is a non-profit organization made up of patients, families, physicians, advocates and researchers focused on ending mesothelioma. This charity organization helps fund research for new treatment options, provides support and education to patients and families, and advocates for federal funding.
International Mesothelioma Interest Group
The International Mesothelioma Interest Group is an alliance of doctors, researchers and other medical professionals. The group holds an international mesothelioma conference every other year, with the last one held virtually in 2021. The intent of the group is to improve collaboration among mesothelioma specialists, including research into mesothelioma cells, antibodies and clinical trials. Visit the International Mesothelioma Interest Group website for more.
Mesothelioma Research Foundation of America
The Mesothelioma Research Foundation of America funds research with the goal of finding a cure for mesothelioma. The foundation started in 2001 and helped fund the opening of the mesothelioma research laboratory at University of Southern California Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Pacific Mesothelioma Center
The Pacific Mesothelioma Center is a division of the Pacific Heart Lung & Blood Institute. The non-profit center was founded in 2012 with the mission of researching mesothelioma treatments.
Canadian Mesothelioma Foundation (CMF)
The Canadian Mesothelioma Foundation is a non-profit, mostly volunteer-run organization that raises awareness about malignant mesothelioma cancer in Canada. The foundation was founded in 2008 and offers private, invite-only online support groups for mesothelioma patients, caregivers, family and the bereaved.
Support Groups at Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in Boston, Massachusetts, has three support groups or programs for mesothelioma patients and their families. These groups highlight the advantages of receiving treatment from Brigham and Women’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Visit this page for a list of all cancer support groups at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Mesothelioma Orientation Group
This group is an educational orientation program for patients newly diagnosed with mesothelioma. Patients and loved ones are presented with information from doctors, nurses, researchers, social workers and patient navigators.
Contact: Beth Flanzbaum, LICSW at 617-525-3020. Meeting times vary. Patients are scheduled for this program immediately after the first medical appointment with the mesothelioma treatment team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Mesothelioma Support Group for Family Members or Caregivers
Group is co-led by Brigham and Women’s Social Work and Chaplaincy teams. This is a support group for family members or caregivers of patients diagnosed with mesothelioma. A focused discussion about caregiver issues and encouraging good self-care.
Contact: Beth Flanzbaum, LICSW at 617-525-3020. Meetings are Wednesdays from 12-1:00pm in the Multipurpose Room on the 11th floor of the Braunwald Tower. Lunch is served.
Living with Mesothelioma Virtual and/or Live Support Group
These meetings at Brigham and Women’s Hospital occur sporadically and provide emotional support and information to people living with mesothelioma and their loved ones.
Contact: Beth Flanzbaum LICSW at 617-525-3020 for more information. The meeting schedule is published yearly and is available by contacting the hospital’s International Mesothelioma Program.
Phone-Based Mesothelioma Support Groups
Hearing a comforting voice of someone who understands what you’re going through is very helpful. Below is a series of phone-based support groups that you can join.
Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation Phone Groups
The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation offers a variety of options for patients to take part in teleconference-style support groups. Visit the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation website.
Online Mesothelioma Support Groups
Many people diagnosed with mesothelioma will turn to the internet for answers to their questions. While Mesothelioma Guide’s website offers information and support (such as our print Guide to Mesothelioma book), online support groups give patients a firsthand opportunity to tell their stories and share their experiences.
Mesothelioma Guide Facebook Page
This open group is managed by Mesothelioma Guide and offers news about research and other information regarding mesothelioma. Visit the Mesothelioma Guide Facebook page.
Other Cancer Support Groups and Organizations
Mesothelioma patients can take advantage of support resources from more general cancer organizations. These non-profits provide support groups for all patients with cancer.
These support options are all online or over the phone.
American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society is the most well-known non-profit agency for cancer fundraising and awareness. The American Cancer Society has numerous online and phone support groups for cancer patients. Visit the American Cancer Society website for information on support groups and resources.
The American Cancer Society also has a phone support helpline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This support, called the National Cancer Information Center, has trained cancer information specialists providing phone support to patients, families and caregivers. Call 1-800-227-2345 to reach the cancer helpline. You can also schedule a video chat with a specialist.
Cancer Support Community
The Cancer Support Community offers support for those that have been recently diagnosed or are longtime cancer patients. One of the options is calling the Cancer Support Community Helpline. Visit the Cancer Support Community website.
CancerCare supports people affected by all types of cancer, including mesothelioma. The free services include individual and group counseling with oncology social workers, plus virtual counseling through the CancerCare telephone HOPEline. These groups are for patients, family members and caregivers. Visit the CancerCare website.
CaringBridge is a non-profit organization that allows patients to share their stories, inspire hope, and support others. The goal of CaringBridge is to create a community that is easily accessible to family and friends. It helps keep them updated about a health crisis their loved one may be experiencing.
The goal of CaringBridge is to create a community that is easily accessible to family and friends. It helps keep them updated about a health crisis their loved one may be experiencing.
CaringBridge allows a user to create a personal website that allows family and friends to receive updates about their progress during their health journey. In return, a user’s loved ones are able to offer their support and words of encouragement during difficult times. CaringBridge has more than 2,500 volunteers and patients have made more than 500,000 websites. Visit the CaringBridge website.
Daily Strength was created to provide a community sharing information and insights. Visit the Daily Strength website.
Cancer Survivors Network
Cancer Survivors Network is affiliated with the American Cancer Society. It offers online message boards for patient support. Visit the Cancer Survivors Network website.
I Had Cancer
I Had Cancer is an online support community for cancer patients and survivors. It includes resources and help for people in every stage of their cancer battle, from those just diagnosed to those who have beaten their diagnosis. Visit the I Had Cancer website to learn more.
Inspire is an online network for patients and caregivers. Inspire gives the chance to connect with people who have similar types of cancer. The community is through a website or a phone app. Visit the Inspire website for more.
Share the Care
Share the Care is an online support resource and network for cancer caregivers. This non-profit organization helps caregivers share their experiences and also helps match caregivers to cancer patients who are living alone. Visit the Share the Care website to learn more.
Mesothelioma Support Events
Below is a list of the annual events or awareness days for mesothelioma. Mark your calendar to participate or sign up for conferences.
National Mesothelioma Awareness Day
National Mesothelioma Awareness Day is September 26th every year. People support this day by wearing a blue ribbon to raise awareness of mesothelioma.
Global Asbestos Awareness Week
Global Asbestos Awareness Week is the first week of April every year. The week is intended to raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos, a mineral that causes mesothelioma cancer. The ultimate goal of the week is to push for a ban of asbestos worldwide.
International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma
The International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma is an annual conference hosted by the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. It is held in a different metropolitan city each year. In 2022, it was held in Chicago. The dates differ year to year, but the conference is usually in July.
The conference features top mesothelioma specialists, survivors and mesothelioma advocates. View more information on the International Symposium event website.
International Asbestos Awareness and Prevention Conference
The International Asbestos Awareness and Prevention Conference is an annual event hosted by the Asbestos Disease and Awareness Organization (ADAO). It has varying dates and locations The 2022 event was held in September.
The conference features speakers from diverse backgrounds, including doctors and survivors of mesothelioma, hoping to spread awareness about asbestos diseases. View more information on the ADAO website.
Frequently Asked Questions About Mesothelioma Support Groups
Who can join a support group for mesothelioma?
Anyone affected by mesothelioma can join a support group. Most participants are people with this cancer, although there are groups specifically for friends and loved ones. Even if you don’t have mesothelioma, you might be affected and can join a support group to receive and give emotional strength.
Which organizations offer support groups for mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma Guide offers a support group option via the Mesothelioma Guide Facebook page. People affected by mesothelioma can ask questions and share stories to help themselves and others fight this cancer. Some of the other organizations with support groups are:
- The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation
- Brigham and Women’s Hospital
- Cancer Support Community
Are there online support groups available for mesothelioma?
Most organizations offer online versions of their mesothelioma support groups. Brigham and Women’s Hospital, one of the top cancer centers in the world, provides a virtual support option for people with mesothelioma. Other hospitals provide the same free resource. We can help you find an online support group today.
How does joining a mesothelioma support group help?
Mesothelioma support groups provide emotional support to the people affected by this cancer. They can provide courage to patients, friends and family members. Many have credited their strength in the fight against cancer to joining a support group. Additionally, support groups can lead to friendships that last a lifetime.
Sources & Author
- Support Groups for Patients and Families. Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Retrieved from: https://www.brighamandwomens.org/patients-and-families/care-coordination/support-groups. Accessed: 10/18/2022.
- International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma. Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. Retrieved from: https://www.curemeso.org/get-involved/attend-conferences-and-events/symposium/. Accessed: 10/18/2022.
- About Us. CaringBridge. Retrieved from: https://www.caringbridge.org/about-us. Accessed: 4/4/17.