Irene’s views of Patient Support Groups:

Before starting chemotherapy, I was in a state of shock and our whole family was devastated, especially my husband. It was not an illness any of my friends or family had heard about. After meeting my solicitor, Phoebe Osborne, I quickly began to realise that there were many other women in my position who had been exposed to asbestos secondarily through washing their loved one’s clothes and there is support out there.

The group of people I’ve been introduced to are a beacon of hope. I’ve been overwhelmed with the support and kindness shown by others who understand precisely what I am going through including anxiety and symptom control.

Before my diagnosis and subsequent chemotherapy, I was anxious about the future but now I recognise many patients in my position are doing very well with their treatment and there are future treatment options available to mesothelioma patients, either via the NHS or privately, something I may not have necessarily heard about if I did not attend a support group. “I feel proud to be a ‘Mesowarrior’ and now offer support to others.

Phoebe Osborne, Chair of EEA PSG comments:

Irene’s story is testament to the benefits of support groups. I’ve witnessed, first-hand, the benefits to these patients and their families following a shocking diagnosis. The group is free to attend and many studies have shown that regularly attending a local support group can improve quality of life for people dealing with a cancer diagnosis.

My main priority is to ensure all patients and their families are supported on a holistic level following what is often a shocking terminal diagnosis. Families need hope and support from experts who can signpost them to the appropriate professionals, including occupational therapists, hospices, and the national charity Mesothelioma UK. On a personal level, it has also been wonderful to watch friendships blossom and develop over the years