The psychosocial impact of living with mesothelioma: Experiences and needs of patients and their carers regarding supportive care

Agata Prusak, Jan Maarten van der Zwan, Mieke J. Aarts, Anne Arber, Robin Cornelissen, Sjaak Burgers, Saskia F.A. Duijts

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Mesothelioma is a rare cancer with a poor prognosis caused by exposure to asbestos. Psychosocial support and care for mesothelioma patients and their carers is limited and not tailored to their specific needs. The aim of this study was to explore patients' and carers' needs and experiences regarding psychosocial support and their coping mechanisms dealing with psychosocial problems. Methods: A qualitative study was performed using semi-structured interviews with both mesothelioma patients and their carers. Participants were recruited through two specialised hospitals and two patient organisations. All interviews were transcribed verbatim and thematically analysed. Results: Ten patients (70% male, mean age 67.7) and five carers (20% male, mean age 65) participated in the study. The main themes identified for patients were active coping, limited needs and limited knowledge and awareness about psychosocial support. The main themes for carers were passive coping and ‘it's all about the patient’. Conclusion: Mesothelioma patients do not seem to have high needs for psychosocial support, whereas carers do. However, knowledge about and awareness of psychosocial support is low among mesothelioma patients. The findings from this study should be used to adjust guidelines for psychosocial support in mesothelioma patients and their carers.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13498
JournalEuropean journal of cancer care
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • carers
  • coping
  • mesothelioma
  • needs
  • psychosocial support
  • rare cancer

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