Recent research on the relationship between hope, health care spending, and survival in 195 advanced cancer patients found that those who had illness-related hope had better health outcomes.
Specifically, patients who had hope about their cancer were more likely to seek regular medical care and had a clear survival advantage as a result. The study was conducted by researchers at Singapore’s Duke-NUS Medical School, National Cancer Centre Singapore, and Singapore General Hospital.
Hope provides a source of strength and encouragement for patients diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer.
Find out more about the link between hope and cancer survival and how our team can help you find hope after a mesothelioma diagnosis.
How Does Hope Affect Cancer Patients With a Positive Prognosis?
The same study found that the factor that seemed to most affect patients’ feelings of hope was their cancer prognosis. Prognosis refers to a patient’s expected health outlook, including their life expectancy.
According to the study, patients with illness-related hope were those who believed they would survive for 2 years or more.
Cancer patients who received at least a 2-year prognosis had more illness-related hope — or hope related to their expected health outcome — compared to general hope.
Among patients with a more positive prognosis, researchers found that they:
- Had a higher rate of seeking treatment: On average, cancer patients attended 6.6 more follow-up visits the year after the survey than their study counterparts with a prognosis of 1 year or less.
- Had a lower mortality risk: Those cancer patients who felt optimistic or hopeful about their treatment had a 41% lower risk of mortality.
- Spent more money on their medical care: Patients who believed their treatment to be curative (life extending) rather than palliative (symptom relieving) tended to spend more on treatment than others.
Learn about how hope helped several mesothelioma patients and their families through treatment in our Free Mesothelioma Survivors Guide.
How Does Hope Affect Patients With a Poorer Prognosis?
Researchers leading the study looked for evidence that hope in late-stage cancer patients would lead to greater use of health care resources across the board.
Unfortunately, hope did not have an equal effect on all patients. Those who had a poorer prognosis did not use health care resources more or experience survival advantages from feelings of hope.
The study identified some factors that may have played a role:
- Patients with a poor prognosis did not expect to be alive long.
- Generally, they did not believe their cancer treatment would cure their disease or extend their life.
- These patients also tended to lack signs of illness-related hope.
Despite these findings, hope still has clear quality-of-life benefits for patients — regardless of their prognosis.
Other Benefits of Hope for Patients with a Cancer Diagnosis
According to Stanford Medicine, hope can play a crucial role in supporting quality of life after a cancer diagnosis.
Here are some of the most important benefits of hope for people with cancer:
- Encouraging continued treatment
- Fostering optimism for cancer-specific goals like remission, stabilization, or a cure
- Helping cope with pain and side effects
- Improving mental health
- Providing a tool for empowerment
“If I can help give even one person a small bit of hope, then this life of mine is worth something.”
What Are the Benefits of Hope for People With Mesothelioma?
Because mesothelioma is so aggressive, it can lead to a loss of sense of hope in people who are newly diagnosed.
However, maintaining hope is of the utmost importance for mesothelioma patients, regardless of their prognosis. Many patients who have received a poor prognosis have survived for years and even decades longer than their doctors predicted.
Some of these mesothelioma survivors include:
- Alexis Kidd: Diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma at the age of 37 in 2007, Alexis had cytoreduction with HIPEC surgery and is now a 16+ year cancer survivor. Alexis was originally told she had 6 months to 2 years to live.
- John Stahl: In 2019, John was diagnosed with stage 4 pleural mesothelioma and given a prognosis of 12 months. He’s achieved more than 4 years of survival through chemotherapy treatment and maintaining a positive attitude.
- Julie Gundlach: Julie received her peritoneal mesothelioma diagnosis in 2006 after losing her father to asbestos-related lung cancer. Originally told she had 6-12 months to live, Julie never gave up hope and fought through 5 major surgeries. More than 17 years later, Julie continues to thrive and enjoy time with her family.
Learn how other patients have maintained hope throughout their cancer journey in our Free Mesothelioma Survivors Guide.
Tips for Cultivating Hope With a Cancer Diagnosis
Staying optimistic and holding on to a positive outlook can not only improve your mental and emotional well-being — it may actually affect your survival.
Here are some actionable ways to stay hopeful after being diagnosed with cancer:
- Give life to your hope by sharing it with others. You can tell your caregivers, providers, or loved ones about your optimistic outlook by speaking about it, writing it down, or posting about it on social media. You can also pray or meditate about your hopefulness.
- Consider a creative outlet, like different forms of art or music therapies, journaling, or making a scrapbook, to express your hope.
- Join cancer support groups. You may feel alone in your journey, or you may not want to share. But over and again, research shows that forming human connections, especially in times of great distress, provides hope and relief.
- Call on your beliefs. If you are religious or spiritual, it may help to embrace your beliefs and find a deeper sense of spiritual connection. Though a cancer diagnosis can often shake a person’s faith, it can also be a time to seek a deeper or renewed sense of spirituality.
- Connect with cancer survivors. Talking with someone who has been in your shoes is invaluable when facing a mesothelioma diagnosis. Our Patient Advocates can help you find a peer mentor who’s in a similar situation. Call us right now at (866) 608-8933 to learn more.
Find Help & Hope for a Mesothelioma Cancer Diagnosis
If you are facing a mesothelioma diagnosis or another terminal cancer, hope is still within reach. And hope, as researchers have found, is a key element of survival.
There’s a reason ‘hope’ is part of our name. Mesothelioma Hope has helped countless patients find medical care, financial assistance, and emotional support to keep fighting this cancer. Read their stories of hope and survival in our Free Mesothelioma Survivors Guide.