If a loved one in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has been diagnosed with the rare, aggressive cancer called mesothelioma, you may be at a loss as to how to provide support. It’s certainly not something to do alone. The first step that experts recommend, then, is to bring together family, friends and community members to create a support team. Members can take turns feeding the patient, providing transportation to appointments, and other tasks.

The reason for focused pulmonary care

You know that mesothelioma primarily affects the lungs and can lead to difficulty breathing, painful breathing and continual coughing. This is why pulmonary care is so important. Consider having your loved one take specific medications that open the airways or ease the pain caused by the pressing of tumors against the chest wall. A pulmonary therapist could teach the patient breathing exercises for increased comfort.

Treatments and their emotional toll

Chances are that your loved one will undergo chemotherapy and radiation therapy, unless he or she was diagnosed early enough for surgery to be a viable option. Still, it would be good to look at all treatment options, including those offered in clinical trials. There are immunotherapy drugs, for instance, that could at least counteract the side effects of chemotherapy. Whatever side effects that do appear should be reported to the oncologist right away.

The side effects of chemotherapy include fatigue, nausea and vomiting. Radiation therapy may give patients skin irritation. Surgery patients may experience muscle weakness, pain and fatigue. Above all, the emotional toll can be great, starting with the shock of the diagnosis. Simply being there for your loved one can sometimes be the best way to support them.

Personal representation in an asbestos case

Mesothelioma is linked to asbestos exposure, and perhaps your loved one was exposed to this mineral because of the negligence of an employer, for instance, or the manufacturer of an asbestos-laced product. You may be able to file a claim against the responsible party so that your loved one’s treatment costs, lost income and other losses are covered. A lawyer could personally attend to your case.