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Study Says Supportive Care Key to Less Anguish, Anxiety in Mesothelioma Patients

A new study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine has confirmed what doctors and support staff already know: mesothelioma patients who receive supportive care experience less anguish and anxiety than those who do not.

The study research team analyzed primary studies published between 1980 and 2016, using information from Cochrane Library, PsychINFO, PubGet, PubMed, PubPsych, Scopus, and the Psychology Behavioral Sciences Collection, in compliance with PRISMA guidelines. According to Wiley Online, the team identified 12 papers that investigated the psychological distress and care needs of mesothelioma patients, and nine papers for asbestos‐exposed subjects. All of the papers reviewed concurred—mesothelioma patients experience “significant” mental and psychological stress.

The studies documented reactions of stress, including anxiety, shock, depression, anger, apathy, and social dysfunction, in both patients and family, when mesothelioma is diagnosed. “Many mesothelioma patients directed anger towards family members and doctors, rather than past employers,” reports National Asbestos Helpline, UK (NAH UK). “The authors noted this may be due to the time between exposure to asbestos and development of an asbestos-related disease – anywhere between 10 and 50 years – and a feeling of loyalty towards employers.”

Healthcare professionals were found to play an important role in the severity of stress. Further, it is noted that professionals with better communication skills helped decrease both stress and trauma among patients. “Quality of life improves in people who receive the supportive care and help they need to cope with their mesothelioma diagnosis or past exposure to asbestos dust and fibers,” reports NAH UK. “Well-being improved in mesothelioma patients and asbestos-exposed people” who:

  • Had access to clear and accurate legal information on the possibility of compensation
  • Participated in an asbestos support group
  • Took advantage of physical therapy care to improve respiratory and physical function
  • Improved their diet to improve general health
  • Received palliative care

Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illness. This type of care is focused on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family. –Get Palliative Care

 If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, choosing the right specialists and facility is key to your overall well-being. Talk to your doctor about matching you with a team that will not only treat your mesothelioma, but a team that will also help you cope with the emotional toll this devastating disease can take on you, your family and your friends. Talk to your doctor today.



Bonafede, Michela, Monica Ghelli and Marisa Corfiati. "The psychological distress and care needs of mesothelioma patients and asbestos‐exposed subjects: A systematic review of published studies." Wiley Online Library. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 25 Mar. 2018. Web. 31 July 2018.

“Emotional needs of people exposed to asbestos revealed by study.” National Asbestos Helpline, UK, 05 July 2018. Web. 31 July 2018.

“What is Palliative Care?” Get Palliative Care. Center to Advance Palliative Care, 2018. Web. 31 July 2018.