One of the cruelest aspects of a mesothelioma diagnosis is the fact that – in most cases – the disease is not diagnosed until patients are close to retirement age: just as they are anticipating spending their golden years doing all of the things that they pushed off for the future, they receive word that their future has been dramatically foreshortened. Mesothelioma is an extremely aggressive disease that generally claims the lives of its victims within two years of diagnosis. Suddenly men and women in their late 50s or beyond find themselves having to decide whether to pursue aggressive medical treatments and having difficult and painful discussions with their loved ones as they prepare for the end of their lives.
A recent article in the New York Times puts one of the most difficult decisions facing mesothelioma patients into sharp focus: when is it okay to stop fighting the disease. The author describes the ravages of what she calls “treatment fatigue” and the pressure that is put on patients by the use of military-style language to describe the “battle” or “war” on disease. She makes the point that by urging patients to maintain a positive attitude and battle bravely, well-intended loved ones may put additional and painful pressure on people who are exhausted by the emotional, physical and financial impact of the ordeal.
Each mesothelioma patient will have to make their own decision as to when their body and mind have had enough of chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery – the multi-modality treatment protocol that is favored in the treatment of their disease. These treatments may be used simply for pain relief or in an attempt to extend life and buy a few more critical months. For those who are viewing the situation from an economic perspective or who are concerned about the financial security of those they will leave behind, there are options available through the legal system. Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, and because many in the asbestos industry were aware of its dangers, they have been held legally responsible for the damage that they have done.
If you would like to discuss your legal options, we can put you in touch with an experienced and knowledgeable mesothelioma attorney. Contact us today at 1-800-966-2244 to set up a free consultation.