Having met many patients from all walks of life who are dealing with malignant mesothelioma, the patients are very open with us as to how their journey with mesothelioma began. As we know, each individual’s disease is as unique as one’s fingerprint.
How people come to find out that they have this disease is often very common. The classic story usually starts out with someone experiencing symptoms like shortness of breath, pain in their chest or back, or maybe a cough. They make an appointment with their doctor to find out what is wrong and how to treat these symptoms. Often people will get diagnosed with another ailment like pneumonia and antibiotics are then prescribed. They may go home and improve or not, and return to the doctor with similar symptoms. This may require more tests, like blood work, chest x-rays, or possibly CT scans. Finally, this leads to a diagnosis, and news that there are not many options.
Mesothelioma is rare and it is aggressive, but medical centers have been fighting this disease for quite some time. Treatment options are improving every day and people are living with this disease. Many physicians are unaware of what treatment options are available because they just don’t have experience with the disease. When people arrive to us, they are filled with fear and uncertainty. A Center of Excellence can offer treatments and more importantly hope. We do not proclaim to cure this disease, but the goal is to treat this disease as aggressively as possible. Not everyone we have treated has lived, but the statistics are improving every year we fight.
As we enter into the next decade, imagine where we will go with treating rare diseases like mesothelioma. We are collaborating with people all over the world sharing the findings from one center to the next. It won’t be one person who cures this disease, it will be every person who has put their time, energy, and knowledge to work attempting to make a difference.
Reflecting back to the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, we have come so far. It is amazing the simple things that have changed caring for our patients. For example, just getting a patient out of bed days earlier than we used to has improved outcomes. We have learned from patients and their loved ones the obstacles that are faced at home. The idea of people sharing details about what works for them, and what has not, has helped many others. As we enter into this new decade of 2020, the work towards a cure continues. The foundation has been set and scientists are energized to continue to fight mesothelioma vigilantly.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed, reach out to Belluck & Fox today for help.