Understanding and Coping with Mesothelioma

Understanding Mesothelioma

What is Mesothelioma? Mesothelioma at a quick glance is a rare, asbestos-related cancer that forms on the thin protective tissues that cover the lungs and abdomen. There are three forms of this type of cancer and they include Pleural Mesothelioma, Peritoneal Mesothelioma, and Pericardial Mesothelioma. Notable occupations at risk include veterans, construction workers, shipyard workers, and chemical plant workers. Symptoms can include shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, pain in chest and abdomen, and fatigue. Possible treatments for this disease include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and palliative care. According to a 2017 report, there are still roughly 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma in the United States each year. Nearly 75% of people diagnosed with this disease are men, at least 40% of which served in 45the military.

Ways to Cope with the Symptoms of Mesothelioma

There are numerous ways to handle and cope with the symptoms that mesothelioma brings with it. One beneficial way to cope is with a healthy diet. The following are dietary tips to better cope with the disease and treatment:


Dehydration Consume food with high water content, avoid alcohol and caffeine. Increase fluid intake.
Nausea Bland foods such as rice and toast can help absorb stomach acid. Avoid strong smelling foods.
Fatigue Increase caloric intake to supply the body with more energy
Vomiting Avoid fried or sugary foods, as well as spicy food
Diarrhea Avoid greasy, fatty or fried foods, raw vegetables, strong spices, alcohol and caffeine


Finding Support

There are multiple outlets to seek support for living with a challenge. There are people just like you that have fought the same battles you will be fighting. Being part of a Mesothelioma support group will allow you to vent to people who know what you are going through, ask questions to professionals and patients, and receive advice you do not even know you need yet.

Organizations offering help

There are nonprofit organizations that were solely founded to help with things like finances and travel. On the financial side of things, organizations like the Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition (www.cancerfac.org) and the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (www.pparx.org) assist families that cannot afford the cost of their medications. An additional resource is CancerCare’s A Helping Hand (www.cancercare.org/helpinghand). CancerCare’s has a searchable database that will provide resources for financial and practical assistance. There are also organizations, such as, Hope Lodge of the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Hospital Hospitality Houses (www.nahhh.org), that provide temporary lodging for families and patients that have to travel far from their homes to receive proper treatment. The organization that specializes in Mesothelioma resources is the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation.

Quick Tips from Mesothelioma Survivors

Patients diagnosed with mesothelioma have found many ways to cope and treat the disease that changed their life. Some survivors have turned to herbal remedies like drinking tea made from Moringa leaves, which are known to contain anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. Others have turned to a simple change in diet and regular exercise routine to complement their treatments.