I didn’t know what Mesothelioma was, so I looked it up. Here is what I found out.
Malignant mesothelioma is the most serious of all asbestos-related diseases. Although uncommon, mesothelioma cancer is no longer considered rare. The primary cause and risk factor for mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos.
This article was written by Faith Franz for NanaHood
At a time when spending time with family and achieving life goals are at the top of a woman’s to-do list, a mesothelioma diagnosis can turn her world upside down.
Many mesothelioma patients are surprised by their diagnosis. Women may be especially surprised, since the cancer more commonly occurs in men. Typically, mesothelioma develops silently within the body and goes undetected until it is in its later stages. Although many patients can recall a history of asbestos exposure, they rarely expect something that occurred as much as 50 years ago to cause cancer at this point in their life.
After a mesothelioma diagnosis, certain things about a patient’s life are undoubtedly going to change – energy levels, scheduling commitments and finances to name a few – but patients can try to keep their lifestyle as normal as possible. Maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle can actually improve the patient’s overall condition. Several mesothelioma survivors even attribute their success to new habits such as juicing, dietary changes and meditation.
How a Healthy Lifestyle can Improve a Patient’s Chances of Beating Mesothelioma
Several different lifestyle factors can have a positive impact on mesothelioma patients. These include:
• Mind-body therapies
Nutritional therapy is one of the most powerful ways that mesothelioma patients can make their lifestyle more conducive to recovery. One study found that patients with various cancers had an average life expectancy of six years when they changed their diets, while patients who continued their normal eating habits had an average life expectancy of just 5.7 months.
Nutritional therapy can teach patients which foods provide their body with the most concentrated sources of cancer-fighting vitamins and minerals. The therapy can also help patients select effective supplements if they cannot get enough of these substances from their daily diets. An oncology nutritionist can guide patients through these changes and provide them with tips to make their new diet a permanent lifestyle change rather than a temporary meal plan.
Many patients also find that becoming more physically active helps their general condition. Mesothelioma patients may need to get creative with the types of exercise they engage in, since chest pain and difficulty breathing can make exercise a challenge. However, activities such as gentle yoga, gardening, walking and Tai Chi are all excellent choices. Adopting a more active lifestyle can help mesothelioma patients have more energy, and it can even help diffuse cancer-related anxiety.
Overall, a mindful approach to life can also improve a mesothelioma patient’s post-diagnosis experience. Meditation and mind-body therapies (i.e. visualization exercises and relaxation techniques) can help patients feel calmer and more positive about their situation. Patients should remember that even in the face of a poor prognosis, they can still fill their lives with enriching activities and fun experiences with loved ones. With healthy lifestyle changes, they may even be able to beat their prognosis and spend extra time doing the things they’ve always wanted to do.
Author bio: Faith Franz researches and writes about health-related issues for The Mesothelioma Center.
One of her focuses is living with cancer.