Supportive care overcomes the physical, practical, emotional and spiritual barriers created by mesothelioma. They represent an important component of the care provided
\to people suffering from this disease. Many programs and services help meet the needs and improve the quality of life for these people and their loved ones, especially after treatment is finished.
Recovering from mesothelioma and adjusting to life after treatment differs from person to person. They vary according to the extent of the disease, the type of treatment administered and many other factors. The end of cancer treatment can arouse shared emotions. Even after treatment is finished, there may be other issues to deal with, such as adjusting to long-term side effects.
A person who has been treated for mesothelioma may be concerned about the following.
LIVING WITH ADVANCED CANCER
Many people with mesothelioma are diagnosed with advanced cancer. Advanced cancer is cancer that is unlikely to heal. Treatment is mainly aimed at relieving symptoms, controlling the disease and improving the quality of life.
Pleural effusion refers to an accumulation of fluid around the lungs. This liquid can put pressure on the lungs, making breathing difficult. Pleural effusion commonly occurs in the presence of pleural mesothelioma, but it can also be caused by peritoneal mesothelioma.
Symptoms of a pleural effusion include shortness of breath, coughing, a feeling of heaviness in the chest, and anxiety about being unable to breathe.
If you have a pleural effusion, your healthcare team will monitor you closely and suggest ways to treat it. Since it is common for the fluid to build up again after being removed, more than one treatment may be necessary. One could use a needle to evacuate the liquid present in the thorax (thoracentesis) or to perform surgery to seal the pleura together (pleurodesis) so as to prevent a new accumulation of liquid.
Ascites is an accumulation of fluid in the abdomen. It causes swelling in the abdomen, which can cause discomfort or pain. It can also cause nausea and shortness of breath. Ascites occurs in most people with peritoneal mesothelioma.
If you have ascites, your healthcare team may suggest ways to treat it. It is common for the fluid to build up again after being removed. More than one treatment may therefore be necessary. We could use a needle to evacuate the liquid present in the abdomen (paracentesis). It is also possible that chemotherapy drugs are given directly into your abdomen through a small tube (catheter).
LOSS OF APPETITE
Many people with advanced mesothelioma experience loss of appetite, which can lead to weight loss and poor nutrition. Severe weight loss can lead to loss of muscle mass (cachexia).
It is important that you try to maintain your weight, even if you do not want to eat. Adequate nutrition helps your body fight disease and cope with the effects of cancer treatment. Your healthcare team can suggest ways to help you deal with loss of appetite.
Fatigue is a lack of energy, general tiredness or exhaustion. This is a very common symptom in people with mesothelioma. Fatigue can be caused by illness, its treatments, or loss of appetite.
Your healthcare team can suggest ways to help you deal with fatigue. These will vary depending on the cause of the fatigue. You could also try to get enough sleep, organize your activities to reduce fatigue and eat a healthy diet.
A bowel obstruction (or intestinal blockage) occurs when the small intestine or colon is partially or completely obstructed. Peritoneal mesothelioma can cause intestinal obstruction.
Symptoms of a bowel obstruction include pain, abdominal cramps, swelling of the abdomen, inability to bowel movement, fever, nausea and vomiting.
Your healthcare team will try to determine the cause of the bowel obstruction. Treatment will depend on the cause of the occlusion and its severity. Treatments may inc