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Guest Post – Families and Finding Support Groups

Families and Finding Support Groups

Families dealing with a debilitating disease, like a diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma cancer, often can find much-needed help with a support group.

Finding one that fits your individual needs isn’t easy, but it will be worth the time and effort it takes, providing the educational and emotional support that can be so critical to a family.

It could make a world of difference to patients and those around them.

Doctors, nurses and medical professionals may deal with disease every day – and their knowledge and experience are critical – but they don’t live with it around the clock like a patient and family do.

Talking with others who have already gone through your situation or are going through it simultaneously and can feel exactly what you are feeling is a valuable resource. They will support you.

With a rare disease like mesothelioma, it is particularly important to find a support group to avoid feeling isolated and overwhelmed. That is why The Mesothelioma Center works hard to connect patients in similar situations, allowing them to ask each other questions and share their concerns.

There is no reason to do it alone when there is help available.

Studies have shown that support groups can provide hope and help avoid the depression that can be overpowering with a poor prognosis. Just having someone to talk with, and someone who truly understands, can be invaluable.

Support Groups Can Be Cancer-Specific

There are support groups, for example, that are open to anyone with cancer. There are other support groups for specific cancers, such as breast, prostate and lung, allowing for a more specialized exchange of ideas. Other groups are designed for caregivers who need help coping with a family member’s diagnosis.

Across the Web, there are support groups that communicate via chat rooms and message boards. There also are old-fashioned conference calls. Or groups that allow for one-on-one discussions. For more common diseases, there are face-to-face meetings.

To find a support group, start with your nurse, hospital, doctor or social worker who can get you connected. Cancer centers often sponsor support groups.

There are advocacy groups like that organize support groups specifically for mesothelioma patients. It is a call-in group hosted by a mental health counselor and includes participation by a registered nurse who specializes in this specific cancer. It meets monthly and includes patients, spouses and other caregivers, who share experiences, ask questions and provide answers.

Tim Povtak is a senior writer for, an informational source for mesothelioma patients and their families. A veteran journalist, he joined in 2011, hoping to bring awareness to this rare and aggressive cancer caused by an exposure to asbestos.

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