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Lisa Hyde-Barrett, RN Mesothelioma NurseAs new innovations and treatments emerge, there is growing hope in the mesothelioma community. We have written about clinical trials, chemotherapy, surgical interventions, palliative care, radiation therapy and more, but behind all this research into different treatment modalities, there is a passion that drives us to work towards a cure. According to Webster’s Dictionary, the definition of passion is a “strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement about something or about doing something.” Passion is exactly what we experienced at a conference last week in New York, surrounded by doctors, nurses, advocates and caregivers.

The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) hosted a conference for the mesothelioma community to share their findings related to research into mesothelioma. Because mesothelioma is an international issue, there were experts and researchers from all over the world collaborating, sharing research, and debating on cutting-edge research and treatments for this disease. Throughout the conference, there was a common and shared passion to keep going forward, to learn from others’ experiences and stay informed on which treatments have worked and which do not.

As we convened in a conference area, many shared more private and personal stories of hope and success in fighting this illness. Shared stories have a way of bringing the mesothelioma patient’s experience to the people behind the scenes, who use the information for passion to continue and innovate in their research. Mesothelioma is a rare disease, and to have world-renowned experts collaborating and sharing is a testimony to the passion of the mesothelioma community.

Each month at our Mesothelioma Center, we meet many new patients, each with new stories about how this disease has affected them. Fortunately, we all have passion in treating this disease and not one of us – doctor, nurse, patient nor caregiver – has ever given up. We are a group of healthcare professionals who found ourselves caring for people who have a rare disease. While the challenges of treating mesothelioma are ever present, it is our passion that drives us to get to know each patient, stay connected and informed with the mesothelioma community, and dare to try new treatments in hope for the best.

When finding a mesothelioma center and a team to treat you, be sure to be mindful of the passion. It is a feeling of encouragement and energy that cannot be found anywhere else. Passion is not taught in medical or nursing school; it is found in a team of people who care and want to see patients have the best possible outcome. There are plenty of other places people could have chosen on a humid summer’s day in New York City, but the mesothelioma community chose to be at the IASLC conference and contribute their discoveries to the world. There was hope and passion from all, and this will help develop more treatments.

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