Mesothelioma can affect anyone no matter their race, gender, geography or type of employment. This statement is accurate because asbestos — the only known cause of mesothelioma — is everywhere.
However, some groups of people are more at risk than others of exposure to asbestos, and the demographic most at risk is military veterans.
One organization, CancerCare, is ensuring these brave Americans are not abandoned as they struggle with the emotional effects of their mesothelioma diagnosis and treatment.
CancerCare is offering a free 12-week telephone support group for male veterans with any cancer. The organization’s website says, “This group will provide a safe place to exchange support and receive information and guidance while discussing the unique challenges of living with a cancer diagnosis as a veteran.”
CancerCare is a national organization providing free support to anyone affected by cancer. The services include helping patients, survivors, caregivers and loved ones manage the emotional and financial challenges of their disease. CancerCare was founded in 1944 and helped nearly 175,000 people with cancer last year through free individual and group counseling, educational resources and financial assistance.
Details of CancerCare’s Veterans Telephone Support Program
Mesothelioma support groups are quite common, but this is a unique offering specific to veterans.
The telephone support group is a new initiative, one supported in part by grant funding. A.J. Cincotta-Eichenfield, one of the CancerCare oncology social workers, will moderate the conference calls each week. Cincotta-Eichenfield has experience moderating in-person cancer support groups, and he said topics vary and largely depend on what the patients want to discuss.
“It can be a blend of things,” he said. “Some of the other support groups that I moderate will start with everyone explaining who they are and what their cancer experience has been. … From that initial discussion, we start to branch out.
“Sometimes it starts with a guided question. Sometimes, depending on what the group wants it to be, we can do updates and check-ins medically. Our groups are really malleable in that way, dealing with the present and adapting to what people are going through.”
To be eligible for the program, veterans must be receiving treatment or have completed treatment within the past 18 months. Treatment could be any of the following:
- Hormonal treatments
The next 12-week program begins in February 2020 and is currently open for registration. The support group meets each Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. (eastern standard time). Spots are limited, and anyone interested should register immediately.
For help registering, email our veterans advocate Carl Jewett at email@example.com.
Why Veterans With Mesothelioma Should Apply
Veterans and mesothelioma are statistically linked. Former members of the United States military comprise at least 33% of all mesothelioma patients. The reason why is because asbestos was prevalent in the military.
Asbestos was used to build ships, barracks, aircraft and in many other military buildings and objects. The dangerous mineral was just about everywhere, and exposure to it was near-certain for servicemen and women.
Our staff at Mesothelioma Guide includes a 24-year Navy veteran, Carl Jewett, who has helped veterans with mesothelioma (and their families) for more than a decade. Carl provides free assistance in filing claims with Veterans Affairs, finding high-quality treatment and receiving legal aid. He also has emotionally supported many former military members.
CancerCare’s program only adds to the resources available to veterans with mesothelioma. Cancer treatment is expensive, often reaching hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the more free services there are, the better it is for patients and their loved ones.
The veterans telephone support program will focus on reducing the emotional toll for former military members with mesothelioma. Specifically, the group aims to:
- Reduce loneliness, anxiety and distress among veterans
- Increase feelings of hope and empowerment
- Teach new coping mechanisms to patients
- Improve communication between the veteran and their medical team and loved ones
- Provide practical information about treatment
- Inform veterans of resources within their community
Cincotta-Eichenfield said veterans who enroll in the inaugural program can re-register for up to two additional 12-week stints. He said the long-term success and continuance of the program depends on funding and interest from veterans with cancer.
- Male Veterans With Cancer Telephone Support Group. CancerCare. Retrieved from: https://www.cancercare.org/support_groups/171-male_veterans_with_cancer_telephone_support_group. Accessed: 01/24/2020.
- About Us. CancerCare. Retrieved from: https://www.cancercare.org/about. Accessed: 01/24/2020.
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