Divorced mesothelioma patients may be more likely to be depressed, according to a new study from the journal Palliative and Supportive Care.
Researchers from the United States measured the quality of life, coping, depression, and social support of 67 mesothelioma patients.
Most of these patients coped with their diagnosis with active coping, emotional support, and acceptance.
There are approximately 2,000 cases of mesothelioma in the United States every year. People with mesothelioma might start to feel shortness of breath, chest pain, and weight loss.
Symptoms first appear after a long latency period of 20 to 50 years. There is often a rapid advancement of the disease after late-stage diagnosis. Because of the painful symptoms and limited treatment options, a mesothelioma diagnosis can be very difficult for the patient and their caregiver.
Love and Mental Health
The mesothelioma patients in this study were mostly white men. They ranged in age from 35 to 83 years old.
The researchers analyzed the patients’ responses to a questionnaire about their mental health. They found a correlation between depression and those patients who were divorced.
This may be because mesothelioma patients who are divorced do not have a strong support system compared to patients who are married. Feeling isolated can compound the psychological effects of mesothelioma.
The patients in this study shared some of the strategies they use to manage negative feelings around their health. Many patients found active coping to be a helpful strategy. Active coping is any behavior that helps a person address their problem head-on, like self-care activities.
The patients also reported that emotional support and acceptance helped them deal with negative emotions. Having a strong social support system can be a major factor in a mesothelioma patient’s quality of life.
Demirjian CC, Saracino RM, Napolitano S, Schofield E, Walsh LE, Key RG, Holland J. Psychosocial well-being among patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma. Palliat Support Care. 2023 Jan 19:1-5. doi: 10.1017/S1478951522001596. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36655492.