Putting Mesothelioma Information in the Proper Context – MesotheliomaHelp.org (blog)


When patients and families are diagnosed with mesothelioma it introduces them to a whole new world with a different language, different people in different roles, and sometimes this all plays out in a different city, away from home. Basically, the mesothelioma patient’s world is turned upside down. It can feel like you have lost control of your life in a foreign land.

Over the years I have taken care of mesothelioma patients in many different places, during diagnosis, in the hospital, out of the hospital, follow up after treatment, and there are quite a few observations that I have made. Information transfer and assumptions often happen when what is said is taken out of context. This can easily happen because this is a stressful time, and the information is complex.

Mesothelioma information can be confusing. Whether you are listening to your medical team explaining procedures, or you are trying to know what you have read about the disease, it is vital that you weigh the information in the context that it was presented.

The other vital fact to consider is that everyone’s mesothelioma is different. Support of other mesothelioma patients and families is vital, but remember everyone is on their own unique journey with this disease. What they say or do may not be something you will need to do.

Recently, when talking with a family member of a mesothelioma patient she repeated what she had read about survival statistics for her loved one’s mesothelioma. She had the number in her head and was focused on it. Not only was the statistic  taken out of context, but it was referring to a different cell type of mesothelioma. I was able to clarify the information and clarify how this information was not pertinent to the patient. Reassured that it was not accurate in her loved one’s case, they were relieved and could now turn their focus away from a number and to making the most of every day.

Information is complex in a rare cancer. Take it in context, and reach out if you need clarification.

If you have questions about your mesothelioma treatment or any aspect of your mesothelioma care, please email me at LHyde-Barrett@mesotheliomahelp.net.

Lisa Hyde-Barrett

About the Author – Lisa Hyde-Barrett

Lisa Hyde-Barrett has helped ease the stress of patients and their families by offering a comforting hand. Lisa has 25 years of experience as a thoracic surgery nurse at Brigham and Women’s Hospital a top 5 nationally ranked cancer hospital. Lisa works with leading nationally-recognized surgeons who specialize in mesothelioma. Through her extensive experience caring for mesothelioma patients, she is a facilitator for the patient to help them maintain control and dignity over their treatment of their disease and to help with the patient’s wishes. She is passionate about helping the mesothelioma community.

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