Our 24/7 cancer helpline provides information and answers for people dealing with cancer. We can connect you with trained cancer information specialists who will answer questions about a cancer diagnosis and provide guidance and a compassionate ear.
Our highly trained specialists are available 24/7 via phone and on weekdays can assist through video calls and online chat. We connect patients, caregivers, and family members with essential services and resources at every step of their cancer journey. Ask us how you can get involved and support the fight against cancer. Some of the topics we can assist with include:
For medical questions, we encourage you to review our information with your doctor.
For some people with mesothelioma, treatment can remove or destroy the cancer. The end of treatment can be both stressful and exciting. You may be relieved to finish treatment, but find it hard not to worry about the cancer coming back. This is a very common concern in people who have had cancer.
For many people, mesothelioma may never go away completely. Some people may get regular treatments with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or other types of treatment to try to keep the cancer in check. Learning to live with cancer that doesn’t go away can be difficult and very stressful.
Life after malignant mesothelioma means returning to some familiar things and also making some new choices.
If you have completed treatment, your doctors will still want to watch you closely. It’s very important to all your follow-up appointments. During these visits, your doctors will ask about symptoms, examine you, and may order blood tests or imaging tests, such as CT scans or PET scans. There's no widely agreed upon follow-up schedule for people with mesothelioma. Your doctor will most likely want to see you fairly often (at least every few months or so) at first. The time between visits may get longer if there are no problems.
Follow-up is needed to check for signs of cancer recurrence or spread, as well as possible side effects of certain treatments. This is a good time for you to ask your health care team any questions you might have and to discuss any concerns.
Almost any cancer treatment can have side effects. Some can last for weeks or months, but others can be permanent. Tell your cancer care team about any symptoms or side effects that bother you so they can help you manage them.
If the cancer does come back, further treatment will depend on where the cancer is, what treatments you’ve had before, and your overall health. For more on how recurrent cancer is treated, see Treatment of Mesothelioma Based on the Extent of the Cancer. For more general information on dealing with a recurrence, see Understanding Recurrence.
Talk with your doctor about developing a survivorship care plan for you. This plan might include:
Even after treatment, it’s very important to keep health insurance. Tests and doctor visits cost a lot, and even though no one wants to think of their cancer coming back, this could happen.
At some point after your cancer treatment, you might find yourself seeing a new doctor who doesn’t know about your medical history. It’s important to keep copies of your medical records to give your new doctor the details of your diagnosis and treatment. Learn more in Keeping Copies of Important Medical Records.
If you have (or have had) mesothelioma, you probably want to know if there are things you can do that might lower your risk that it will or come back, such as exercising, eating a certain type of diet, or taking nutritional supplements. Unfortunately, it’s not yet clear if there are things you can do that will help.
Adopting healthy behaviors such as not smoking, eating well, getting regular physical activity, and staying at a healthy weight might help, but no one knows for sure. Still, we do know that these types of changes can have positive effects on your health that can extend beyond your risk of mesothelioma or other cancers.
So far, no dietary supplements (including vitamins, minerals, and herbal products) have been shown to clearly help lower the risk of mesothelioma progressing or coming back. This doesn’t mean that no supplements will help, but it’s important to know that none have been proven to do so.
Dietary supplements are not regulated like medicines in the United States – they do not have to be proven effective (or even safe) before being sold, although there are limits on what they’re allowed to claim they can do. If you’re thinking about taking any type of nutritional supplement, talk to your health care team. They can help you decide which ones you can use safely while avoiding those that might be harmful.
If mesothelioma does recur at some point, your treatment options will depend on where the cancer is located, what treatments you’ve had before, and your health. For more information on how recurrent cancer is treated, see Treatment of Mesothelioma By the Extent of the Cancer.
For more general information on recurrence, you may also want to see Understanding Recurrence.
Some amount of feeling depressed, anxious, or worried is normal when cancer is a part of your life. Some people are affected more than others. But everyone can benefit from help and support from other people, whether friends and family, religious groups, support groups, professional counselors, or others. Learn more in Life After Cancer.
Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.
Last Revised: November 16, 2018