5 Alternative Mesothelioma Treatments for Patients
Nicole Winch | May 19, 2020
Traditional mesothelioma treatments — surgery, chemotherapy and radiation — aim to extend patients’ lives. However, their quality of life may suffer due to the side effects during or after treatments.
Alternative methods can not only improve your happiness but can also help diminish some of these negative effects.
If you have mesothelioma, there are a variety of alternative therapies that can complement your conventional treatment regimen. Surgery is invasive and can have complications after removing parts of the body. Chemotherapy and radiation both can kill healthy cells and cause patients to feel nauseous and fatigued.
Alternative mesothelioma treatments cannot cure your body of this cancer, but they can help you mentally and emotionally cope with your disease. They can even make you more prepared for traditional treatment.
Below are five alternative mesothelioma treatments that patients can include alongside their regular treatment plan. Before starting any of these therapies, speak with your primary physician or mesothelioma doctor to get approval. While these options should not affect any medication, you should always keep your medical team aware of any activities to relieve stress.
Cancer treatment can be physically and mentally draining. Yoga is an excellent way to improve your fitness and mental health. The benefits of yoga include:
- Reduced stress
- Improved mood
- A boost in muscle strength
- Reduction of pain, tension and other mesothelioma symptoms
Yoga involves a variety of different movements and stretches that can be tailored to your individual needs. Combined with meditation, yoga can decrease the psychological distress caused by your diagnosis.
Acupuncture therapy is most commonly used to ease the discomfort of nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy treatment. Thin, disposable needles are inserted into the skin at specific pressure points on the body, which can diminish chemotherapy side effects. Studies report that acupuncture is also used to manage pain, hot flashes and dry mouth.
Aromatherapy improves the mind, body and spirit through the use of essential oils from plants (flowers, herbs or trees). You can use essential oils to alleviate stress, nausea, pain and vomiting caused by standard mesothelioma treatment. Popular oils used in aromatherapy include tea tree, lavender, geranium, lemon and ginger. These essential oils can be inhaled or massaged into the skin to reduce the side effects associated with your disease.
4. Strength-Training Exercise
Strength training is beneficial before, during or after your treatment. Many patients use basic strength exercises to manage symptoms such as stress and fatigue.
The American Cancer Society suggests that resting too much can lead to muscle weakness and loss of body function. To combat this, doctors urge patients to remain physically active if possible. Lifting weights can improve muscle strength and endurance, which can help you endure surgery or chemotherapy.
Don’t overdo your weight-lifting exercise. Start off light and gradually increase the amount of weight you use. You should always get your doctor’s approval before starting any exercise plan.
The main purpose of meditation is to enter a calm and relaxed state. As a mesothelioma patient, you may feel overwhelmed with anxiety after receiving your diagnosis. Meditation can help offset this feeling.
Taking deep breaths and entering a state of concentration allows you to focus on positive thoughts. Meditation can also decrease your heart rate, improve your mood and ease muscle tension.
- Meditation for People With CancerVerywell Health Retrieved from: https://www.verywellhealth.com/meditation-for-people-with-cancer-2248959. Accessed: 05/18/20.
- Physical Activity and the Cancer PatientAmerican Cancer Society Retrieved from: https://www.cancer.org/treatment/survivorship-during-and-after-treatment/staying-active/physical-activity-and-the-cancer-patient.html. Accessed: 05/18/20.
- Aromatherapy With Essential Oils (PDQ®)–Patient VersionNational Cancer Institute Retrieved from: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/patient/aromatherapy-pdq. Accessed: 05/18/20.
- Acupuncture (PDQ®)–Patient VersionNational Cancer Institute Retrieved from: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/patient/acupuncture-pdq. Accessed: 05/18/20.
- Role of Yoga in Cancer Patients: Expectations, Benefits, and Risks: A ReviewNational Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5545945/. Accessed: 05/18/20.