Caring for the Caregivers: Resources for Families and Friends of Mesothelioma Patients

You have a problem.

Your friend or loved one has mesothelioma. It’s a terrible kind of cancer. What do you do about it, though?


A big part of cancer treatment isn’t financial — it’s psychological or emotional. You’ll want to make sure that your friend or family member has the support they need. Counselors can’t always be replaced by friends and family, either. A trained counselor knows how to address sensitive subjects, what to say, and what not to say.
You may also want to talk with an experienced attorney, especially if your loved one was in the military. Sites like can help you sort through hard-to-find information about how military personnel are exposed to dangerous asbestos fibers, for example.

Financial Planning Considerations

You probably don’t think too much about financial planning when you think cancer, but finances play a huge role in whether a cancer patient gets the level of care they need, which in turn affects the outcome.

Patients affected by mesothelioma are often faced with significant financial burdens. Unfortunately, there are some pretty serious financial issues that you’ll have to face if you become a caregiver for a cancer patient. Treatment costs are the first of many costs that the patient will have to figure out. And, if you’re offering financial support, know that the costs can be significant.
A good financial planner will become part of the core of your support team. A financial planner can help you and your loved one plan out things like how the patient will pay for care, what they will do day-to-day budgeting-wise, and how they can protect their assets from being liquidated to pay for treatment.
A good financial planner can also help the patient plan out healthcare costs and navigate the insurance maze to make sure treatment is paid for.

Treatment Costs

Mesothelioma is a very expensive cancer to treat. The only current treatment is an FDA-approved chemo drug and protocol and a combination of surgery and radiation. The drug

ALIMTA® and cisplatin are routine care. Planning for these costs is essential.

That’s because these branded drugs are expensive, and surgery is still experimental in most cases and not considered curative because of the nature of the cancer. Palliative surgeries  are often recommended for quality of life, but are not going to cure or help with the disease progression.

And since there are only a select few cancer centers that are capable of offering the treatments required, your options are limited. And, many patients get blindsided with the costs and the treatment options — they’re often surprised at just how limiting everything is.

Health Insurance Planning

Unfortunately, health insurance companies aren’t always forthcoming about what they will and won’t cover when a patient is diagnosed with cancer.

When you’re diagnosed with cancer, one of the first things you’re probably thinking about is whether the insurer will find a way to weasel out of paying for it. And, if you’re the patient, you are right to be concerned. You can help your friend or loved one by making sure they are represented by a lawyer, a financial planner, and a health insurance professional that will help navigate the insurance aspect and fight for their rights as a patient.

George Knowles life has been touched by Mesothelioma. He writes on the topic to help raise awareness and offer support. His articles appear on health blogs as well as Mesothelioma support sites.