Saturday, 15 November 2008

Mesothelioma Cancer Diagnosed- Questions to ask

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Following diagnosis, uppermost amongst a patient's thoughts
will be these..."Am I going to die?", "Will I be in much
pain?". As there is no cure for mesothelioma it is important
that the patient is advised that with modern treatment they
can, for months or years, live a normal life for most of
the time. And that the modern drugs are very effective at
keeping pain under control and relieving it.
Obviously the treatment aspect is extremely important and
the patient and close relatives must ensure that they get
the consultant and doctors to explain comprehensively how it
is all going to work. It is advisable to compile a list of
questions to put to the medical staff prior to any
appointments or consultations and to get a relative or close
friend to go along with the patient.
I would advise taking a look on the internet for information
about the disease and printing out relevant bits. I did
this when my father was diagnosed with stomach cancer. When
I showed the consultant what I had been studying, I sensed a
more open discussion and perhaps a few more technical
details were covered that otherwise might not have been.
There is no harm in taking notes with you and you might even
consider taping the discussion. These are potentially
highly stressful and upsetting meetings which might mean
that you don't remember all that was said. You'll want to
know where and when the treatments will take place.
Include questions about possible side effects and the range
and type of drugs they will be taking. And how the drugs
will be taken, injection, by mouth, intravenous etc.
Difficulties arise when a question is asked about how long
the patient has got to live. It is impossible for the doctor
to predict the future exactly for an individual patient and
they would be putting unecessary pressure on themselves if
they did.
This uncertainty is not good for the patient and vague
answers never satisfy anyone. I would push the doctor for an
educated guess based on his experience and the results he
has at hand. This is only my opinion. I would want to know
if I've got months (which could be two or three) or years
(which could be 12 months).
Fears can often be worse than reality. That is why it is
important to collate as much knowledge about the illness and
disease as possible. Discussing this new knowledge with
friends and relatives can help relieve the stress as the
treatment progresses.
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