Information for carers

If you are looking after someone with mesothelioma, let your GP or nurse know if you need some extra support.You may be caring for a relative or friend who has mesothelioma. You may be happy to do this but at some point, you may need some extra support. Let your GP or nurse know if you do. There are different health and social care professional who can help.

It is important to look after yourself too. Getting the help you need can help your relationship with the person you are caring for. If it would help, it may be possible to get a short-term payment from a compensation claim, to help pay for some care.

You may find it hard to talk about the cancer and about your feelings. But it is often better to talk rather than deny your feelings. We have more information on talking about cancer, financial help for carers, and what to expect.

There may come a time when your relative or friend dies from mesothelioma. In this case there will need to be an inquest. This is because mesothelioma is an occupational disease. It should not delay the funeral.

Looking after yourself

If you are a relative or friend of someone who has mesothelioma, you may be caring for them. You may help with their everyday needs, such as:

  • cooking meals
  • helping around the house
  • helping them with washing and bathing.

While you may be very happy to do this, there may come a time when you might need some extra support.

There are a number of health and social care professionals who can provide support for both you and the person you are caring for. Let your GP or nurse know if you need extra support. Caring for someone you love can be physically and emotionally difficult. If you have been looking after them for some time, you may start to feel tired. Let your GP or nurse know so that they can make sure that you both get the support you need.

It is important to look after yourself too. Remember that having some support and help can allow you to regain your previous relationship with the person with cancer.

If your relative or friend is making a compensation claim, it may be possible to get a short-term payment to help fund some of their care. If your relative or friend would like to consider this, they should discuss it with a solicitor.


Talking about cancer

As a relative or friend, you may find it hard to talk about cancer or share your feelings. You might think it is best to pretend everything is fine and carry on as normal. You might not want to worry the person with cancer, or you might feel you are letting them down if you admit to being afraid. Unfortunately, denying strong emotions can make it even harder to talk, and may lead to the person with cancer feeling isolated.

Partners, relatives, and friends can help by listening carefully to what the person with cancer wants to say. It may be best not to rush into talking about the illness. Usually, it is enough just to listen and let the person with cancer talk when they are ready.

We have more information about talking with, listening to, and understanding someone who has cancer.


Financial help

If you are a carer, you may be entitled to financial help, such as the Carer’s Allowance. You can get more information about this benefit, and any others that you may be entitled to, by speaking to one of our Welfare Advisers on 0808 808 00 00.


Inquest after someone dies

There may come a time when treatments are no longer working for your relative or friend and you have to prepare for their death. When someone dies of mesothelioma, there will need to be an inquest. This is a legal investigation into the circumstances surrounding a person’s death. At such a difficult time, it can be even harder if you did not know this.

An inquest is needed because mesothelioma is an occupational disease. When a person with mesothelioma dies, the doctor who signs the death certificate must inform the coroner (the procurator fiscal in Scotland), who will carry out the inquest. A coroner is a doctor or lawyer who investigates unexpected deaths. The need for an inquest will not usually mean any delay before your relative or friend’s funeral can take place. The coroner will issue a temporary death certificate in most cases. This is because a full certificate cannot be issued until after the inquest is completed. This may take a few months.

The coroner will decide if a post mortem (an examination of the body) is needed to find out whether the death was due to mesothelioma or another cause. In many situations, a post mortem is not needed if there is enough medical evidence to confirm the person had mesothelioma. This evidence may come from samples (biopsies) that were taken when the person was first diagnosed with mesothelioma.

If your friend or relative was making (or had already made) a compensation claim, the coroner should be told and given the solicitors details. The solicitor should also be told of the death soon after the person passes away. In most cases, the solicitor will be able to advise and deal with the coroner on behalf of the family.

It can be distressing when you have to deal with these issues as well as the possible death of your relative or friend. You may wish to get support from your specialist nurse or a support organisation. Call us for free on 0808 808 00 00 if you need support.


Compensation for family members

Relatives of people who have died from mesothelioma may be able to claim compensation for their relative’s pain and suffering, and some financial losses suffered as a result of the illness. This may not be possible if the person who died from mesothelioma had already made a claim which had been settled.

It is important to get legal advice from a specialist solicitor on how to make a claim.

Back to Coping

Getting support

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Your emotions

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Relationships and sex

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Advanced cancer

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At the end of life

We can help you find practical and emotional support at the end of life and through bereavement.