Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer with a generally poor prognosis. It is very common for patients and their loved ones to lose all hope. However, staying hopeful is known to improve mood, which can have a positive impact on physical health. False hope can be dangerous if it leads to risky treatments without benefits.
Staying Hopeful During Your Mesothelioma Diagnosis
Hope is defined as “an optimistic attitude of mind based on an expectation of a positive outcome.” Staying hopeful during your mesothelioma diagnosis can be an effective way to maintain quality of life. There are also positive physical effects that are associated with staying hopeful.
It is said that mesothelioma survivors should hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Regardless of the stage and prognosis of your mesothelioma, setting short- and long-term goals will help you define and achieve your life purpose.
“Hope is a very important mindset for malignant pleural mesothelioma patients as their cancer has a grim prognosis and limited therapeutic options.”
-National Institutes for Health (NIH)
Mesothelioma patients can stay hopeful for a cure, remission, or stable cancer without suffering to their benefit. This hope can be the difference needed to enjoy remaining time with loved ones for as long as possible.
Quick Points On Hope:
- Every mesothelioma patient hopes differently depending on such factors as how hope was viewed and applied in their upbringing.
- Most mesothelioma patients don’t think about “how” they use hope in their diagnosis, but rather assume everyone hopes the same way.
- Hope doesn’t refer only to staying optimistic, it also covers the strategies mesothelioma patients use to keep a positive outlook for the future.
- Many health care professionals are trained to only think in terms of “therapeutic” hope and consider other forms of hope to be denial, causing conflict with mesothelioma patients who choose to use hope as a strategy.
- Mesothelioma patients should never let anyone tell them that there is no hope because it is an individual decision on what to hope for.
Psychological Effects Of Hope For Mesothelioma Patients
The psychological effects of hope for mesothelioma patients can be very beneficial to a patient and their family. The optimism that hopeful people carry plays a key role in coping with a mesothelioma diagnosis.
Hopeful mesothelioma patients are more likely to be open to getting second- or third-line therapy. Even if these therapies may not treat the cancer as well as patients would like, they may extend life, which is a gift to many mesothelioma patients and their loved ones.
Participation in clinical trials can also have positive psychological benefits for mesothelioma patients.
Mesothelioma patients with hope are more open to these new forms of treatments. This can help patients have a better outlook on their prognosis and encourage them to keep fighting.
Does Hope Have A Physical Effect On My Body?
Being hopeful and having a positive outlook on your mesothelioma diagnosis can help stimulate the immune system and fight off infection. Additionally, hopefulness and healthy behaviors can cause a release of endorphins that may help relieve physical pain.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there is a strong relationship between hope, resilience, and mood. Further, the NIH states that there have been many studies to prove mood has a direct impact on physical health.
“Hope keeps one alive to fight for another day, a month, a year, and a return to better health. It affords another opportunity to respond to therapy and to live.”
Mesothelioma patients with hope tend to become proactive, which makes them less likely to dwell in pessimistic mood states that are known to negatively impact physical health.
Impacts Of False Hope On A Mesothelioma Patient
While staying hopeful through a mesothelioma diagnosis is very important, some believe that being too hopeful and unrealistic can be psychologically and physically damaging to a patient. This could come in the form of getting high-risk surgeries that are not recommended for the patient’s condition.
When unnecessary and aggressive surgeries are performed on mesothelioma patients, there is often no survival benefit. Overly hopeful mesothelioma patients are even exposed to the risks and suffering that come along with extensive surgeries.
While it is possible that false hope can prove dangerous to a mesothelioma patient, staying hopeful is always reasonable if it contributes to what each individual patient is striving for in the remainder of their life.
Staying Hopeful For A Cure
Staying hopeful for a cure is critically important in terminal illnesses such as mesothelioma. It is hope that often leads to action.
This can be seen in the fact that asbestos is continuously being removed around the country to prevent development of mesothelioma. Additionally, researchers are studying every day to find a cure for mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma patients should continue to stay hopeful about emerging life-saving cancer treatments.