Study: Pleural mesothelioma patients may require unique form of psychological care

6 Dec 2016 by under Research/Treatment

lungs 1 002 100x100 Study: Pleural mesothelioma patients may require unique form of psychological careIn our medical system, care is tailored to the ailment. A person with a broken leg doesn’t receive the same treatment as someone who needs his gallbladder removed. However, psychological patient care for those with pleural mesothelioma, a rare, fatal cancer affecting the lining of the lungs, and caused by exposure to , has historically been modeled to reflect that of patients with other lung cancers.

A recent study published in the December 2016 issue of the European Journal of Oncology Nursing found evidence to support that mesothelioma patients whose cancer affects the lungs have different psychological needs than patients with other forms of .

The study compared patients in 17 other studies with pleural mesothelioma, which attacks the lining of the lungs and chest wall, to those with advanced-stage lung cancers.

“There is limited research exploring the lived experiences of those with mesothelioma and lung cancer,” the study concluded. “However, reoccurring themes in the evidence were found suggesting a number of areas where the psychological experience of mesothelioma differs from that of advanced lung cancer.”

Ten themes emerged from comparing the studies: uncertainty, normality, hope/hopelessness, stigma/blame/guilt, family/career concern, physical symptoms, experience of diagnosis, iatrogenic distress, financial/legal and death/dying.

As previously thought, both those with mesothelioma and those with other lung cancers shared concerns over physical symptoms, uncertainty, normality, family/career concern, experience of diagnosis, iatrogenic distress and death, but possibly important variations also occurred.

Perhaps most notably, hope/hopelessness “may be the factor that causes significantly more psychological distress in (mesothelioma) patients than lung cancer patients,” according to Mesothelioma Research News, because while both have similar prognosis, mesothelioma patients felt they did not have as many treatment options.

Differences in stigma/blame/guilt also arose as mesothelioma patients were more likely to blame or feel betrayed by those who exposed them to asbestos, the news site reported. In addition, patients with mesothelioma reported the legal/financial part to be more stressing due to the meetings and forms associated with receiving compensation for their cancer.

“These findings warrant further research to explore further and if proven, the need for the provision of specialist mesothelioma care services is affirmed,” the researchers wrote.


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