Staying “Healthy” While Undergoing Mesothelioma Treatment
“The treatment is worse than the disease” has been said countless times by mesothelioma patients forced to undergo extensive tests and therapies for the painful, and sometimes debilitating, illness. Although, patients will typically relent and endure surgery, chemotherapy or radiation to remove the cancerous tissue once they realize the treatments will ultimately improve their quality of life as they battle the asbestos-caused cancer.
Still, treatments do come with side-effects and can weaken a mesothelioma patient’s immune system. According to the March/April issue of “Touched by Cancer,” however, patients undergoing chemotherapy and other cancer treatments can stay healthy by following some basic tips:
Keep a Positive Attitude. Physicians believe that a positive outlook and affirming thoughts can result in the improvement in a patient’s health. Talk to positive and upbeat people and try to “reflect their energy.”
Exercise When Possible. With an appropriate exercise regimen, a mesothelioma patient can increase his fitness level, as well as seeing improvements in energy levels, mood, mental acuity, sleep patterns, breathing, and a generally improved quality of life while undergoing pleural mesothelioma treatment. Make sure you speak to your treating physician before beginning an exercise program.
Keep Your Hands Clean. With a suppressed immune system, cancer patients are susceptible to infections and colds. To prevent this, wash your hands frequently, use hand sanitizer and avoid being around other sick people.
Take Your Prescribed Medications. Follow your doctor’s orders and take all medications as prescribed. If you suffer adverse reactions let your doctor know before stopping the medication. Also, check with your physician before taking any supplements.
Be Careful When Standing Up. If your iron level is low, which is common in mesothelioma patients, when you stand you may experience dizziness. Make sure someone or something is nearby that you can hold on to until you feel steady.
Eat Well and Drink Fluids. Cancer treatments may affect your appetite, but it is important to still take in proper nutrients. Whether that is through solid foods or nutritional shakes try to follow a schedule to ensure you are getting a sufficient diet. Also, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Try to avoid high-sugar and caffeinated beverages.
While many factors determine survival and quality of life for a mesothelioma patient, such as overall health and fitness of the patient and the extent of the disease, by managing lifestyle choices including nutrition and attitude throughout the treatment, patients may find the results encouraging.