Mesothelioma is a devastating diagnosis to receive, but proactive steps can help patients live better quality lives while undergoing treatment. Studies have shown that mesothelioma patients with an improved quality of life also have an improved prognosis—the disease outlook.
Doctors know their patients can improve mesothelioma quality of life by focusing on these critical aspects of health.
Nutrition and Diet
Health and wellness start with food. Patients who take care of themselves with a healthy diet full of nutritious foods are more likely to enjoy life and continue to maintain their favorite activities.
A study by cancer researchers at the University of Western Australia and Edith Cowan University proved that patients with malignant mesothelioma were more likely to suffer from malnutrition, which directly impacts quality of life. Malnourished people have lower energy levels, feel tired and irritable, are more likely to get sick and have a harder time recovering once they are sick.
The same study also found a link between mesothelioma patients and diet-related pre-sarcopenia, which is light muscle loss. Mesothelioma patients with pre-sarcopenia find it more difficult to perform physical tasks, including light activity.
Symptoms of a poor diet negatively impact a person’s quality of life and make it harder for patients to beat their diagnosis.
Tips mesothelioma patients can use to improve diet include:
- Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Choosing whole grain foods with high fiber
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Moderating the intake of red meat, unhealthy fats and alcohol
- Asking for nutritional support from healthcare providers
Exercise and Activity
Exercise is entirely safe and recommended for mesothelioma patients battling this disease. Countless studies have shown that moderate exercise improves physical health in both the short and long term, and improves quality of life. Even just 15 minutes of light walking can help elevate a person’s mood and energy levels.
A few tips for exercising with cancer to improve mesothelioma quality of life include:
- Set daily or weekly exercise goals
- Add exercise to the daily routine
- Find a form of exercise that’s enjoyable
- Exercise can be as simple as taking a walk indoors
- Go easy on yourself when exercise is not possible
Very few experiences in life are more stressful than fighting cancer. However, stress wreaks havoc on our mind and body, making a difficult situation even worse. Research has demonstrated that stress reduction is a proven way for cancer patients to improve their quality of life.
Mesothelioma patients can reduce stress in several ways:
- Minimize the impact of stressors by anticipating and preventing them
- Practice stress management techniques like breathing and mindfulness
- Work with the best mesothelioma specialists available
- Receive the latest treatments and therapies tailored to your disease diagnosis
- Educate yourself about the disease and take your health into your own hands
Mesothelioma patients can help minimize their stressors when they do the following:
- Ask for help
- Set priorities
- Recognize your own limits
- Keep track of appointments in a planner
- Don’t take on too many responsibilities
- Work with a financial planner
- Let go of things beyond your control
Of course, stress can’t be eliminated entirely, but mesothelioma patients who practice stress management techniques will find their challenges less overwhelming.
Nobody deserves to live in pain, and yet a recent study determined that more than half of cancer patients have inadequate pain management. Too many mesothelioma patients accept pain when it’s something they can reduce or eliminate.
Pain management methods can help patients minimizing the pain caused by their disease, as well as the side effects of therapy. Patients can choose between natural and clinical pain methods, including:
- Stress reduction therapy like yoga, massage and music therapy
- Nerve blocks
- Radiation therapy
Many options exist for reducing and managing mesothelioma-related pain. Patients who are suffering should ask for support and explore the options that work for you.
Support and Community
Many mesothelioma patients appreciate the opportunity to talk to other people who share their experience. Family and loved ones can’t always fully understand the challenges of fighting cancer but other cancer patients can.
A few benefits of support groups include:
- Not feeling alone
- Opportunity to talk about others
- Advice for overcoming challenges
Support groups can take many forms, including in-person, online and telephone groups. Mesothelioma patients should find a support group that works with their lifestyle.
Education and Hope
Health literacy means how well someone understands their disease, and it has a direct impact on mesothelioma quality of life. Patients who know their diagnosis and understand the best treatments for it can take control over their health.
Mesothelioma patients should take the time to find out how the medical community is working towards a cure for all forms of mesothelioma. Cancer researchers are making progress on early mesothelioma detection and treatment options through clinical trials. Every day, the world gets closer to defeating mesothelioma once and for all.
Seeking Specialized Mesothelioma Treatment
Specialists who understand the disease can help patients tailor a plan that will improve their mesothelioma quality of life and life expectancy. A skilled expert will consider nutrition, exercise, stress and pain management, community support and education.
To work with a mesothelioma specialist who will improve your quality of life and give you the best chance at improving your prognosis, contact the Mesothelioma Cancer Network now.