Financial and Emotional Support is Available for Mesothelioma Patients
There are two critically important things in addition to quality medical care that mesothelioma patients need in order to be properly equipped to battle this cancer.
The first is financial help. The second is emotional support.
The good news is that both are available.
With regard to financial help, it’s often needed because fighting this cancer is costly.
Having insurance can significantly reduce the personal financial burden of treatment, but there are many expenses not usually covered by even the best policies.
For example, insurance may not fully cover (if at all) the cost of traveling to a mesothelioma clinic located hundreds or thousands of miles from home. If such is the case, then it falls to the patient to pay for the trip out of pocket without the possibility of reimbursement.
Those out-of-pocket costs can include transportation, accommodations, and meals. The tab for each of these can mount quickly—and can become quite hefty after a week, should treatment take that long or longer to complete (radiation therapy, for example, typically lasts six weeks).
Food and lodging expenses might be incurred by the patient if admitted to the mesothelioma treatment center as an outpatient. Those same types of expenses will also be incurred by whoever the patient brings as a traveling companion or caregiver.
Sources of financial help
To avoid the cost of an airline ticket to a faraway city, patients can turn to the Air Charity Network—a nonprofit organization that arranges for private and commercial pilots to fly medical patients of all types to healthcare destinations around the country. The pilots use their own planes, and patients are considered their guests (meaning no charge for being a passenger). Air Charity Network does all the legwork to schedule the trips; patients need only show up at the airport at the designated time of departure. Visit Air Charity Network here.
Specifically set up to meet the air-transport needs of cancer patients is the Corporate Angel Network. A notable aspect of this service is that most of the planes are owned by Fortune 500 companies. Since its founding in 1981, Corporate Angel Network has logged more 60,000 flights—all of them at no cost to patients and without regard for their ability to pay. Moreover, the organization invites patients to use the service as often as necessary (an invitation made possible by the generosity of the corporate sponsors). Visit Corporate Angel Network here.
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) offers a search engine that allows mesothelioma patients to find financial assistance programs and services to help pay the costs of high-priced medications. The search engine is known as the Medicine Assistance Tool (MAT) and it provides a single point of access to hundreds of public and private assistance programs. MAT is accessible here.
In a similar vein, nonprofit Needy Meds helps mesothelioma patients obtain medications they couldn’t otherwise afford. Needy Meds does this by serving in the role of information clearinghouse. Essentially, the organization identifies pharmaceutical companies that can supply the requested medication at a greatly reduced price. Alternatively, it identifies charitable groups willing to reimburse patients who find themselves forced to pay full price. Visit Needy Meds here.
Sources of emotional support
Many people who have pushed back hard against mesothelioma say they were able to muster the strength and courage for that fight by first seeking emotional support.
They also say that without such support they would have suffered self-defeating fear, anxiety, depression, rage, and no short supply of confusion.
Many indicate that they did not immediately seek support after diagnosis and, as a result, found themselves on an emotional rollercoaster. However, once they obtained support, they felt empowered and filled with a desire to press on.
These feelings are documented in a number of studies showing that people who participate in support groups experience higher survival rates and enjoy a better quality of life.
Emotional support can come from a variety of sources. For example, there are support groups that exist specifically for mesothelioma patients, their caregivers, and loved ones. These groups meet in person and online.
Another source of emotional support is the local social services profession. Mesothelioma treatment centers usually have a staff of psychologists and social workers standing by to assist patients in need. Facilities lacking such an onsite team usually are able to offer referrals to independent mental-health professionals they’ve worked with in the past.
Yet another source of support: local houses of worship and nonprofit community health organizations.
Here are a few of the most prominent support groups. All are open to anyone with mesothelioma as well as to individuals who are caregivers or who have a family member or loved one with this cancer.
The Mesothelioma Center Facebook Group invites participants to post personal stories about their triumphs and setbacks. The interactions among members are characterized by plentiful positivity framed in uplifting words of encouragement. Visit the group here.
The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (MARF) also has a Facebook group—several of them, in fact. Additionally, the organization brings patients, caregivers, and loved ones together through other forms of encounter. Much useful information about mesothelioma and about other support networks are available from MARF’s online resource library. Visit the foundation here.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) offers access to support groups located in many cities across the country. The ACS maintains a searchable database of such groups, making them easy to find. Visit this organization here.
The Cancer Support Community believes that no one can—or should—face cancer alone. Accordingly, this nonprofit group delivers more than $50 million in free support and navigation services to patients and families via clubs, clinics, and hospital partnerships in 175 locations. Join the community here.
More information about mesothelioma financial and emotional support is available by downloading this free guide. It contains expanded details about where to find support and what patients can expect in the way of help.