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Diet for Mesothelioma Patients
Nutrition for mesothelioma patients is something very different than the kind of nutrition recommended for a healthy person, in part because of the cancer itself and in part because of the treatments that many mesothelioma patients choose to receive. Mesothelioma is a very aggressive form of cancer that attacks the lining of the heart, lungs or stomach, and can progress rapidly from a single tumor at a local site to multiple tumors that can spread throughout the body. This kind of cancer is caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers, which become lodged in membranous parts of the body.
Once there, they never leave, and can remain without issue for years or decades. Without warning, however, a sudden immune response can be triggered to these fibers, prompting abnormal cell division. Early diagnosis of mesothelioma is crucial in fighting the disease, and when caught before it has had time to move too far forward, an aggressive treatment plan is often recommended. This plan may involve surgery, chemotherapy and prescription medications, all of which can take a serious toll on a patient's body. In order to deal with the changes that a body undergoes as a result of both the symptoms of mesothelioma and the effects of treatment, proper nutrition for mesothelioma is essential in prolonging life expectancy and increasing the chances of recovery.
Working with a Registered Dietitian
Doctors who specialize in mesothelioma will often recommend that their patients work with a nutritionist or registered dietitian in order to get the kind of help and support they need in their diet, as nutrition for mesothelioma patients must be tailored to their needs and will vary depending on the treatments they receive and the stage of their disease. In many cases, mesothelioma patients who are looking to undergo treatment as a result of their cancer having presented will have already lost up to 10% of their body weight, prompting a significant decline in their overall health.
A nutritionist or dietician can help to evaluate what, if any, nutrients are missing from a patient's diet and recommend what kind of foods should be eaten. Commonly, both fighting the disease and recovering from treatments will require more calories than a typical diet, as well as more protein, which helps to build and repair muscle. A nutritionist will often recommend that a patient eat more high-calorie foods such as rich sauces and gravy, and also increase their meat intake in order to enhance the amount of protein and increase the number of calories they are getting. A "balanced" diet of fruits and grains will not be sufficient for someone suffering from mesothelioma and enduring treatment, as things like high-fiber foods can make diarrhea and other side-effects of treatment worse.
What to Eat During Mesothelioma Treatment
Unfortunately, one of the main problems encountered by those undergoing treatment for mesothelioma is that they lose their appetite, either as a result of the disease or the particular treatment plan they are on. This form of anorexia can make it extremely difficult to maintain a healthy weight, and put patients in a difficult position - everything they enjoyed eating may no longer be appealing, or even taste good, but may be necessary for their survival. The American Cancer Society recommends that those who are looking to improve their diet during mesothelioma treatment try to eat new foods, as what a patient likes can change significantly during the course of their care, and also that patients try to remain as physically active as possible in order to keep up their metabolism.
It is also a good idea to keep a fridge or pantry stocked with easy meal and snack ideas so that when illness or weakness hits, a trip to the store isn't necessary. The easier it is to get good food, and quickly, the more likely a mesothelioma patient will be to eat it and help maintain the overall state of their nutrition. With the help of a doctor and a nutritionist, patients can develop a plan that will adjust as they progress through treatment, giving them what they need when they need it, and help to ensure that they are never lacking.
The world of nutrition and mesothelioma is varied and ever-changing based on a patient's needs and treatment. To learn more about your options for getting the proper nutrition necessary, especially when mesothelioma hits hard, fill out the form below, and we'll send you a free information packet containing tips and strategies on how to boost your health and immune system.