How to Help LGBT Seniors Avoid Isolation

Gay Couple Walking At Park In New York

One of the biggest issues to impact seniors today actually isn’t a health issue at all, it is isolation. Many seniors who are home-ridden or are receiving in home care deal with isolation issues and may, as a result, be at a greater risk of developing depression. Even seniors who have in-home caregivers or who are living with family members are at risk for social isolation, as they lack the ability to get out in the world and interact with their peers. As a family member or caregiver of a senior loved one, the more you can do to help combat issues with isolation, the better.

Here are a few ways to get started.

Keep Transportation Options Available

Whether you use a car service for seniors, or make sure that family and friends are pitching in to help provide transportation, the more you can do to help your senior get out of the house the better. When seniors lose their ability to drive, it highly increases their chances for becoming lonely or isolated, so they need to feel like they can easily access transportation services without being a hassle.

Give Seniors Something to Care for

Whether it is a pet, even something as simple as a goldfish, or a plant, when seniors have something to care for, it gives them a higher feeling of purpose and can help prevent loneliness. Seniors who are capable of caring for dogs or cats will often have a better feeling of companionship and feel less isolated, even if they are living alone.

Schedule Weekly Gatherings Inside the Home

Many times, seniors struggle with loneliness and isolation because it is difficult for them to go out in public. Perhaps it is because they are no longer able to drive, or because they struggle with mobility. If this is the case, make sure to plan weekly events inside their home. It can be a dinner, a craft or just playing games or cards. No matter, what it may be, make this a weekly tradition for your loved one.

Use the Internet to Your Advantage

You may not always be able to get your senior loved one up and out of their home, but you may be able to help them feel more connected to the world around them, simply through the internet. It is common for seniors who only interact with the same select groups of people to feel lonely and isolated in their homes. This can be especially true for gay and lesbian seniors who may not have other peers to spend time with.

Turn to online resources specifically meant for older gay and lesbian adults, such as gaylifeafter40.com. When seniors are able to read articles and view resources about other gay and lesbian seniors, it can help them feel more connected to the outside world. Whether you have a gay or straight senior in your life, the more blogs, articles, videos and resources they can access that specifically cater to their needs and their lifestyle, the better.

Senior isolation is a serious problem for older adults of all ages, genders, races and backgrounds, no matter what their sexual orientation may be. As a caregiver or loved one of a senior, the more you can do to help them feel connected to the world as they age in place, the better.

Holidays in Retirement Centers: A Season of Loneliness or Happiness?

xmas

Although the holiday season is the time of festivity, celebration and intimate moments with your friends and family, the elderly may feel lonelier and more depressed than usual around Christmas and New Year’s. While younger people spend the holiday season hosting and attending dinner parties, celebrating and socializing with their loved ones, for seniors this can be a particularly stressful and depressing time of year. Often living far away from their children and grandchildren, faced with the news of their friends passing away and experiencing health issues, the elderly may have pretty low expectations regarding Christmas.

However, although seniors may be faced with certain challenges, seeing retirement centers as the worlds’ most depressing places is rather stereotypical. In fact, retirees living in communities and retirement villages are significantly less likely to feel lonely around Christmas. Thus, if you want to make the elderly in your life happier and their holiday season merrier, here are several things to keep in mind.

Be Aware of the Winter Blues

With days getting darker, shorter, colder and snowier, many seniors can experience the winter blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Combined with Christmas loneliness, the winter blues can cause seniors to feel extremely depressed. If you notice that your elderly parents are experiencing drastic mood swings, start to lose their interests and seem really sad, they may be suffering from SAD. Retirees who live alone or in retirement centers may spend less time outside, stop socializing with their friends and become more withdrawn.

It’s also important to stress the fact that some elderly people may be more susceptible to the winter blues than others depending on the country they live in. For example, since the holiday season in Australia is typically sunny with beautiful weather, Australian retirees may feel happier around Christmas than retirees in the snowy regions of the U.S.

Nonetheless, you should keep your eye on your elderly parents around this time of year to see whether they are exhibiting any possible signs of SAD. If you notice any of them, make sure to help your seniors get through this depressing period by spending more time with them, taking them out more often and making their home brighter and more comfortable.

Spend Time with Your Elders

It has been reported that 60 percent of seniors over 60 in the UK have no positive expectations for the holiday season. Feeling lonely and isolated, for many of them, Christmas is just another day. While some seniors may be surrounded with friends in their communities, others may spend the holidays completely alone. In the UK, 61 percent of the elderly report that spending time with their families and loved ones is the most important thing for them. Therefore, enabling the seniors in your life to spend Christmas surrounded with their family will significantly relieve their loneliness and depression, as well as enhance their holiday expectations and experience.

However, you shouldn’t see this as a duty towards your parents. They shouldn’t feel like a burden, especially during this time of year. By simply listening to them, hosting a lovely dinner for the entire family, going through your old photos and playing some Christmas games, you can truly enrich their lives.

Find Them an Appropriate Home

If your elderly parents want to spend their retirement in prosperity, you should help them find an appropriate housing option where they will be surrounded with friends and have different amenities. Not only will they live comfortably, they will also feel less isolated and lonely, especially during the holiday season. As one of the most popular solutions, independent living in retirement communities is a practical option that will provide your seniors enough privacy, yet still make them feel as members of their communities. In addition, these retirement villages offer numerous benefits, including medical assistance, social events, different facilities, etc. Furthermore, when researching different housing options, you should consider the standard of living in a specific country. For example, in Australia, a great number of retirees report living comfortably, with a satisfactory level of financial security. Such a stability in life can truly be reassuring for seniors who can spend their days enjoying different comforts and socialising with their friends. Therefore, the fact that retirees living in communities are less likely to feel depressed and lonely during holidays is not at all surprising.

Don’t Focus Only on Christmas

While the feelings of loneliness and depression may become more intense around the holiday season, this is actually a common problem for the elderly. A great number of people are worried that they will become isolated and alone once they retire. Some seniors are completely alone with no one but their TVs to keep them company. Therefore, it’s of the utmost importance that you spend more time with your elderly parents, relatives or friends and help them have richer lives. In addition, you should also consider volunteering at a retirement center if you have enough free time.  Spending even an hour listening to them can really help them deal with certain issues in their lives.

Remember that for some elderly people, the holiday season brings more sadness than happiness and you can help change that.

Physical Therapy Vs. Occupational Therapy—Which is Right for Your Loved One?

Male physiotherapist giving knee massage to female patient in cl

Physical therapy and occupational therapy are two common, yet very different forms of therapies that many seniors will rely on at some point in time. Whether they are recovering from a hospitalization or an injury, these two therapies are actually quite commonly prescribed as they can both help seniors become more mobile and get back on the road to recovery. While these two disciplines can often work together and have some overlapping similarities, they are actually quite different and it is important that seniors, and their caregivers understand the difference between these two therapies.

In basic terms, physical therapy focuses on helping people with general body movement, while occupational therapy focuses on helping patients with daily living activities such as eating, dressing and bathing. In some situations, these two fields may overlap, but they are generally used in different situations. Here’s what to know about each of these disciplines.

Physical Therapy

A physical therapist is a health care professional who treats impairments through exercises. Their goals are to help improve circulation, strengthen muscles, increase mobility and align bones. They also work to decrease inflammation, pain and muscle spasms.

Physical therapy sessions, often rely heavily on exercises to help recondition, strengthen and stretch the muscles, but they also often include other therapies as well. This includes ultrasound, ice, heat, laser, electric muscle stimulation, massage and even weight training.

Your loved one may see a general physical therapist, or one with a specialty in geriatrics. There are other specialties as well including orthopedic and cardiopulmonary therapists.

Occupational Therapy

When working with an occupational therapist, you are working with a health professional who focuses on helping people recover, develop or maintain their capacity to do everyday activities and skills. Occupational therapy sessions are more about hands on rehab work that helps people learn or re-learn everyday skills from picking up objects, to getting in and out of bed or dressing themselves.

Occupational therapists often have a more involved role in a patient’s recovery and not only work with a patient’s emotional, behavioral and cognitive challenges. An occupational therapist may also evaluate their patient’s home or work and help them find the equipment they need to improve their quality of life and ability to function.

While no one ever wants to end up in a situation where they need physical therapy or occupational therapy, it is important to have a better understanding of these two disciplines, should your loved one ever need this type of help. A basic rule of thumb is to consider physical therapy following an injury such as a broken arm or a knee replacement, and occupational therapy following a medical setback such as a stroke, where seniors may need to relearn a lot of skills and habits.

Both occupational therapists and physical therapists can work together to help seniors of all types get the care and attention that they need to recover from any physical setbacks and return to life as normal.

Easy Tips to Improve the Lighting and Safety in Your Loved One’s Home

Light Fixture

When it comes to looking after any senior loved one, one of the biggest responsibilities that you have is making sure that their homes or living quarters are as safe as possible. This is a big responsibility, and something that should never be taken lightly. Most senior falls actually occur inside the home, in a place where the senior felt comfortable and confident. Many times, slippery surfaces, clutter and poor lighting are all to blame when it comes to slips and falls. This is why it is so important to know how to improve the lighting in your loved one’s home.

Proper lighting is essential to your loved one’s home and can be a major help when it comes to avoiding falls inside the home. The good news is, lighting changes are rather simple, even though they leave a big impact. Here are a few ways that you can change the lighting in your loved one’s home quickly and easily so they can enjoy the safe space that they deserve.

  1. Do a Walkthrough

You should always start by doing a general walkthrough of your loved one’s home while paying close attention to the level of ambient light around the home. Look to make sure there is not only enough light, but that the light is bright enough to see. You can change out bulbs, add new lamps and attach standing light fixtures to the same switch all to make sure it is easy for your loved one to keep their home bright and well lit.

  1. Pay Close Attention to High-Risk Areas

Falls can happen anywhere at anytime, which is why it is so important to make sure that the entire home is lit as it should be. However, there are also additional high-risk areas that are even more likely for falls. These are in the bathroom, narrow hallways, and along staircases. Make sure that these areas have enough lighting, even if it means adding plug-in night lights in these difficult-to-light areas.

These danger zones are so high-risk not only because they often require seniors to maneuver in difficult ways, but because they are hard to light as well.

  1. Make Sure Their Work Areas Are Well-Lit

This is one area of the home that is often forgotten. Whether it is a tool shed, a desk on in the kitchen, if there is an area of the home where your loved one does work or other projects, you want to make sure that it is well-lit and easy for them to see so accidents don’t occur. These are areas where seniors often have to strain to see or pay attention and can actually have major safety issues.

When a home is not properly lit, it can make it quite difficult for seniors to see, especially if they have ailing eyesight. Poor lighting is one of the easiest safety fixes in the home, yet it is one that often goes unnoticed. Keep these tip in mind when it comes to improving the lighting in your loved one’s home. While removing clutter and installing safety railings throughout the home are all important steps for your loved one, changing the lighting is another great step to ensure that every area of their home is safe for your loved one.

Seniors and Sleep Apnea—Important Information For Every Caregiver

Senior man sleeping on bed

We all need sleep. There is no secret that one of the key components to overall health and wellbeing is a good night’s sleep. As we age, that need for sleep only increases. Unfortunately, while the average adult needs around eight hours of sleep per night, the average senior isn’t getting that much rest. This lack of sleep can impact everything from weight to cognitive function, memory and emotional health. This is why senior caregivers need to be aware of some of the most common issues that can disrupt their loved one’s sleep. One of these common issues is sleep apnea—a disorder that impacts many seniors today and interrupts their nightly breathing.

Here are some important facts that every senior should know about sleep apnea.

  • Sleep apnea can impact people of all ages, but the risk is higher for those over the age of 40.
  • This condition is actually linked to early onset Alzheimer’s, which is why it is so important for seniors to be educated about sleep apnea.
  • Sleep apnea actually pauses your breathing for anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes, often waking people up in the middle of their rest.
  • The easiest way to diagnose sleep apnea is to have a spouse or family member witness the individual sleeping so they can notice their sleep disturbances. Many people who have sleep apnea do not realize this is going on.
  • Sleep apnea can have some serious risks associated with it, including an increased risk for stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure.
  • Lower libido and erectile dysfunction have often been linked to sleep apnea.
  • Those who are not getting enough rest because of their sleep apnea may have hormonal imbalances and struggle to regulate their metabolism and feelings of hunger—which is why obesity is often linked to sleep apnea as well.
  • Many times, a sleep study is done to diagnose sleep apnea. This is the most effective way to make sure that some other issue isn’t to blame.
  • A Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine or a CPAP, is the most common treatment prescribed for those with sleep apnea. It is a mask that you wear over your face that helps regulate breathing.

The good news is, sleep apnea is relatively easy to diagnose and treat and many seniors are able to see almost instant results once they have a CPAP machine. If you are worried your loved one might be suffering from sleep apnea, it is important that you get them into their medical doctor as soon as you are able. There are a number of different treatments available for sleep apnea that can help seniors start enjoying the quality night of rest that deserve.

Caring for a Loved One with Cataracts

At The Optician's

Cataracts are some of the most common conditions to impact seniors today. A cataract is a condition where the lens of the eye starts to become increasingly opaque. When this happens it causes the vision to become blurred or cloudy. According to the National Eye Institute, this condition is so common, that more than half of Americans will have a cataract or will have gone under cataract surgery by the time they reach the age of 80.

Cataracts form slowly and over time they will start to serious impact a senior’s eyesight. This clouded vision can make everyday tasks difficult for seniors from driving to reading. Seniors may not only report clouded vision but may state that they are seeing halos around lights or fading or yellowing colors.

As a caregiver it can be very difficult to provide care for someone with cataracts. Not only do most people with cataracts struggle to drive, but they may also be unable to do their favorite activities such as sewing, writing or crosswords. With this in mind, here are a few tips for senior caregivers on how to care for loved one with this common visual ailment.

  • Make sure your loved one is getting an exam every two years, once they reach the age of 60. This is important even in seniors who don’t have cataracts, as the earlier you can get a diagnosis the better.
  • Take your loved one into the eye doctor at least every two years if they have cataracts as well as contact lenses or glasses. Adjust the lens strength or shape can greatly help those with vision limitations caused by cataracts.
  • Make sure your loved one is getting regular medical checkups. Many times cataracts are actually a side effect from other illnesses, such as steroid use or diabetes, so other areas of health need to be examined as well.
  • Restrict your loved one’s driving, especially at night, even if they are resistant to it.
  • Make sure your loved one is always wearing UV-protective sunglasses when out in the sunlight as extended sun exposure is often linked to eye damage and to cataracts.
  • Keep your loved one as healthy as possible. Obesity can actually increase a senior’s chances of having cataracts, so the healthier their weight and the healthier their diet, the better.
  • Create a clear path inside the home for your loved one. Cataracts can make it difficult to see objects or clutter that may accidentally cause your loved one to fall and hurt themselves.

While caring for a loved one with cataracts can be difficult, the good news is, there are surgeries that can help seniors restore their vision. While not every senior is eligible for this surgery, it may be an option, once you consult with your loved one’s doctor about this procedure.

What To Do When Your Senior Loved One Loses Their Appetite

Senior Having Lack Of Appetite

When it comes to caring for a senior loved one, there are so many different challenges that can come your way as your loved one continues to age. Many familial caregivers, loved ones and adult children actually aren’t aware of some of the different changes that seniors tend to go through during this time. One of these changes that many senior caregivers are unprepared for are change in your loved one’s appetite.

A loss of appetite may seem to develop slowly. Perhaps they no longer finish their plate at dinner, or they’ve stopped snacking at family gatherings. Maybe you’ve noticed your loved one’s pantry is empty and suspect they aren’t eating when they are alone. If you suspect that they are losing their appetite, chances are you are correct. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean there is a medical emergency brewing.

Changes in appetite are actually quite common among seniors and tend to only continue as they age. However, your loved one still needs to eat and still needs to get plenty of vitamins and nutrients in their diet. If you are worried about your loved one’s health make sure that you take them to their primary healthcare provider first for attention, then consider these tips to ensure they are getting what they need, even with their dwindling appetite.

  • Make sure that your loved one is drinking plenty of water. Chances are, if your loved one is no longer eating, they may be slightly dehydrated, so the more water they can drink, the better.
  • Add lots of fruits and veggies into your loved one’s diet. If your loved one isn’t eating as much as they normally do, then you need to make sure that the things that they are eating are healthy, which means plenty of fruit and vegetables.
  • Encourage your loved one to get more sleep. When seniors aren’t sleeping as much as they should, it can have a major impact on their bodies and their appetites. Whether they aren’t sleeping because of pain, a lack of schedule or stress, the more you can do to help get your loved one sleeping every night, the better their appetite will be.
  • Make eating a social event. Many times, seniors lose their appetites then don’t eat all together because they forget or don’t feel like it. Making eating a more social event will encourage seniors to eat, even when they may have not normally thought about it. Family dinners and meeting your loved one for lunch can really go a long way.

Just because your senior loved one is starting to lose their appetite, it doesn’t mean that you can’t continue to take steps in order to keep them as healthy as possible as they age. Keep these tips in mind if you are concerned about their diet so you can make sure you loved one is staying healthy, even if their appetite is starting to change.

Hepatitis C- Why All Seniors Should Get Tested

the senior doctor

If you aren’t already familiar with this disease, hepatitis C is an inflammation of the liver. It can be caused by toxins, medications, diseases, infections or even excessive alcohol use. This viral infection is actually very contagious and can range from a short, relatively mild illness, to a long, severe condition. It is a blood-born virus and one that typically spreads through sharing needles and syringes or from unscreened blood transfusions and unscreened organ transplants. Skin contact with the blood of an infected individual is also another way to spread this virus.

While this virus can vary from person to person, it is still very serious and is something that all seniors and their caregivers should be aware of. It is so common, in fact, that the World Health Organization estimates that around 71 million people around the world have the hepatitis C virus. In the United States, there are roughly 3 million people with the virus. Unlike other forms of hepatitis, there is no preventative vaccine for hepatitis C.

In some cases, hepatitis C can be asymptomatic, but when symptoms do occur they can include the following side effects:

  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Jaundice
  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased appetite

While symptoms may be present in acute cases of hepatitis C, up to 85 percent of people with this virus have the chronic infection. In these cases, most people don’t notice any changes in their health or any signs or symptoms until their liver has become significantly compromised. In these cases, hepatitis C can lead to liver cancer, liver failure or extreme liver damage.

This is why all seniors should get tested for hepatitis C so they can make sure they aren’t spreading this virus unknowingly and so they can start getting some help on treating the condition and some of its symptoms. Seniors can also help prevent liver damage before it causes permanent ramifications. Unfortunately, seniors are at a higher risk for developing hepatitis C when compared to younger adults. This is why the CDC recommends that all seniors get tested for hepatitis C. Other individuals who should get tested include: those who use injection drugs, individuals who have a donor organ or blood transfusion before 1992, anyone HIV positive, any person with liver disease or abnormal liver tests, long-term hemodialysis patients, individuals with sexual contact with a hepatitis-C infected partner.

The best thing that seniors can do is to be proactive and to go to their doctor for a blood test so that they can find out for sure if they are hep C positive. The earlier seniors are able to detect this virus, the sooner they can start getting the help they need to keep themselves and their livers as healthy as possible.

A Note of Appreciation to Caregivers

Senior And Young Holding Hands

As National Caregiver Month comes to an end this year, we want to recognize and honor caregivers and all the hard work they do. There are tens of millions of caregivers in the US caring for those that cannot complete all their tasks on their own. Caregivers not only provide medical care, they also typically run daily errands, care for the home, and provide security. These tasks often take up many hours a week. About a quarter of caregivers spend so much time caring for their patients that it could be considered a full-time job.

The work of a caregiver can be tiring, stressful, and often feel thankless. Some patients may not be able to understand the hard work that goes into caring for them and therefore may not be able to properly thank their caregivers. It’s important that those who know caregivers, whether they be relatives, coworkers, or friends, take time to let caregivers know that they are valued. This is a note for caregivers across the world to know that there are many people that appreciate what they do and respect their selflessness.

Thank you for so often putting the needs of others before your own. The decision to become a caregiver is often not an easy one. It’s likely that caregiving takes up a large chunk of your time and it might feel like you’re putting your own life on hold. We want caregivers to know that there are so many people that appreciate the work they do. To put in perspective the amount of work and love that goes into caregiving, we want to highlight different responsibilities most caregivers have and provide some resources that might help make life a bit easier.

Medical Assistance

Caregivers often find themselves administering medication and bringing their patient to doctor’s appointments. Keeping track of one’s medical needs require responsibility and organization. Caregivers must know how and when medical aid should be administered as well as when outside assistance is needed. A helpful idea is to keep an eye on sites that provide information for illnesses or disabilities your patient has. Sites like Alzheimers.gov and National Multiple Sclerosis Society are good examples.

Perform Daily Tasks

Since many patients cannot travel on their own to run errands or complete necessary tasks in their home, it often is the responsibility of the caretaker to complete these duties. There are dozens of these tasks that must be done and can seem overwhelming. Luckily, there are services such as Meals on Wheels and to Molly Maid shorten your to-do list.

Provide Security

As a caregiver, one must keep their patient safe and maintain peace of mind. This means making sure that the living space is secure and the patient can move safely about their home. This includes keeping home renovations up-to-date and possibly even installing a home security system. Keep an eye on sites like Consumer Safety and SimpliSafe’s Facebook to stay on top a safety news.

Be a Companion

It’s likely that the patient doesn’t often get the opportunity to socialize with others, so it’s also the responsibility of the caregiver to provide companionship. Dealing with a condition or disease that limits your independence can cause patients to feel lonely. Sites such as Caregiver Action Network give advice for caregivers on this topic.

Clearly, caregiving requires a person with many important characteristics. Caregiving is no easy task, and we hope caregivers feel how appreciated they are this National Caregiver Month.

 

Mesothelioma in Seniors

Senior Woman With Lung Cancer

Cancer. The one word no one wants to hear from their doctor. A single word that carries a tremendous amount of pain, suffering and fear for so many. Despite that fear, important conversations regarding risk, prevention, and next steps must be had with a medical professional — especially after age 65. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that cancer is a disease of the aging. Almost half of all new cancer diagnosis are found in patients 65 or older.

However, age does not mean you are going to be subjected to an eventual cancer diagnosis. The likelihood of developing cancer can decrease through implementing risk-management measures like a healthy diet, consistent exercise, minimizing stress, and avoiding substance abuse. Benjamin Franklin said it best — “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Obviously, cancer can not always be prevented no matter how many measures are taken. Our actions in the past can often trigger current cancer development. Were you once a smoker? Or were you exposed to hazardous materials like asbestos while working? Asking yourself these questions can often lead to an early diagnosis at the first sign of symptoms, leading to an increased survival rate.

What You Should Know About Asbestos 

You’ve heard the commercials, but how do you know if you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos? And why is it such a big deal?

Asbestos, a carcinogen and the only known cause of mesothelioma cancer, was heavily used as a construction material in an industrial and commercial capacity for many decades leading up to the 1980s. Though the United States has since ceased the mining of asbestos and implemented stricter regulations, hundreds of tons of the fibrous material are still legally imported into the country every year.

Mesothelioma is an extremely aggressive yet preventable form of cancer that develops when airborne asbestos fibers are inhaled and embedded into the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart.           

Where Exposure May Have Occurred

Asbestos was first used in factories, oil refineries, chemical plants, railroad cars, and shipyards. Its durable and heat resistant nature made it perfect for pipes, boilers, brakes, building insulation, cement, joint compounds, and roofing shingles.

You may have been exposed to asbestos if you once worked at a construction job site, in shipyards, at a factory, aboard ships or NAVY vessels, or within the vicinity of boilers or insulated piping. Teachers, students, and other staff may also find themselves at a higher risk of exposure as asbestos was frequently used in the ceiling and floor tiles of older schools.

Oftentimes, the workers in these industries carried asbestos fibers on their clothing — exposing their families at home.

Age and Survival Rates

 Mesothelioma hits the senior community the hardest. This may come as a surprise since the days of working in construction, manufacturing or serving in the NAVY are a thing of the past for many in this demographic. However, mesothelioma has an extremely long latency period and can take anywhere from 20 to 50 years before the first signs or symptoms of cancer present themselves.

Mesothelioma is regularly misdiagnosed for more familiar, less life threatening illnesses. Symptoms for this type of cancer are similar to more common viruses like a severe cold or the flu. The chest pain, serious coughing, and shortness of breath resulting from the cancer are easy to overlook. By the time mesothelioma is accurately diagnosed, prognosis is typically poor with less than a year to live.

With any cancer treatment, the earlier cancer is detected the better chance there is for remission or long-term survival. Medical science has advanced tremendously in recent years. For patients healthy enough, mesothelioma treatment options include radiation, chemo, surgery, and immunotherapy.

Immunotherapy, while not a cure, has proven to be a very successful alternative treatment option. It works by enhancing the patient’s immune system to attack and kill the disease. This type of cancer treatment is currently in the clinical trial process. Patients whose cancer does not respond to other forms of therapy may be eligible to participate in an immunotherapy trial if healthy enough — again, making early detection key. 

What’s Next?

If you think you may have been exposed to asbestos in the past it is crucial to seek counsel from a medical professional as soon as possible, even if you have not yet experienced prolonged symptoms. Your doctor will know what to look for in an X-Ray or PET scan and will develop a treatment strategy for you if symptoms arise.