Alternative Treatments for Mesothelioma

Doctors practicing allopathic or traditional medicine are typically at odds with naturopaths who specialize in treating mesothelioma holistically using alternative methods that are not approved by the FDA. Recently, allopathic physicians reexamined the effectiveness of alternative treatment methods in cancer patients and those suffering from aggressive forms of the disease, such as mesothelioma. The Indiana University School of Medicine recently studied the effects of complementary and alternative treatments in an allopathic setting. Researchers had a positive impact on patients by having traditional physicians work with and share ideas with acupuncturists, massage therapists, yoga teachers and alternative health practitioners. Alternative treatments enhanced patient response and improved their well being. Allopathic and naturopathic practitioners working together can increase a patient's life expectancy. More importantly, alternative treatments have the ability to improve a patient's outlook.

Patients who beat the odds and exceed their life expectancy by many years baffle medical professionals and inspire new mesothelioma research. James "Rhio" O'Connor, a patient diagnosed with terminal mesothelioma in 2001 at age 61, is one of these survivors who sparked new research into alternative treatments. Like many late-stage mesothelioma patients, O'Connor was told that radical surgery was not a viable option and chemotherapy and radiation were likely to cause more side effects than benefits. After repudiating his doctor's suggestion to organize his affairs, take a cruise and begin hospice care, O'Connor adopted a strict dietary regimen, incorporated several herbal supplements and developed a holistic form of mind-body medicine. O'Connor beat his life expectancy by more than seven years and went on to write a book about his experiences.


Many mesothelioma patients and respected researchers recognize that natural supplements, nutritional substances and physiological treatments can have many beneficial effects ranging from tumor reduction to pain relief and nausea reduction. However, it is difficult to obtain FDA approval before scientists develop a pharmacological agent that replicates the effects of different compounds and biological mechanisms. Scientists already know that patients who eat a healthy, well-balanced diet that is low in meat but also includes protein and healthy fats achieve better long-term survival rates. Adjunct treatment methods, such as acupuncture, massage, meditation and even chiropractic adjustments, can stimulate the lymphatic system, relieve nausea, reduce pain and make patients feel healthier. Green tea extract, rice bran and curcumin compounds extracted from turmeric are proven to suppress tumor growth and enhance the effects of chemotherapy medications. Other substances, such as like ellagic acid, a natural antioxidant found in berries and pomegranates, don't suppress tumor growth, but they can reduce chemotherapy side effects and improve a patient's sense of well being. While some herbs enhance the effects of chemotherapy and other traditional mesothelioma treatments, others reduce the effects of these drugs, so it's important to communicate with your doctor or work with an oncology team who is willing to help you incorporate alternative ideas and nutritional supplements into your treatment regimen.

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