A mesothelioma diagnosis can be confusing and frustrating as it can be a challenging disease physically, mentally, and emotionally. Mesothelioma can lead to fluid buildup in the affected organ.
It can also have various side effects like weight loss and pain. A healthier lifestyle can help deal with these side effects and alleviate other symptoms resulting from the disease while improving the quality of life.
There are various traditional treatment options available for mesothelioma including, surgery, chemo, and radiotherapy. The mesothelioma treatment can also have several side effects like vomiting, hair loss, and fatigue.
Both mesothelioma and its treatment can be a stressful experience for the patient.
However, adopting healthier habits can lead to better treatment responses. The chances of living an improved and extended life also become higher. The chances of a cancer recurrence also decrease with a positive lifestyle.
Many mesothelioma patients want to adopt a positive lifestyle, and while a health professional can help you make crucial decisions, we can also nudge you in the right direction to incorporate lifestyle changes in your routine.
After getting a malignant mesothelioma diagnosis, you may return to some familiar habits and may also have to make some new healthier choices. What can these choices be? Let us discuss them.
- Maintain a Balanced Diet
A healthy balanced diet can uplift your mood, improve your health and help you recover quickly. You can also consult a nutritionist who can help you identify your nutritional needs and make an eating plan suitable for your situation. Or you can follow some of these healthy eating tips;
• Eat more solids and avoid filling up on liquids
• Try eating small meal portions frequently throughout the day, ideally six times a day
• Include an assortment of vegetables and fruits in your daily meals
• Avoid processed food completely
• Limit alcohol intake
• Listen to your body and eat when you are hungry, don’t force yourself to eat
• Choose white meat like fish and less red meat like beef
• Eat high fiber content foods like whole grains, lentils, nuts, and seeds
• Make omega-3 an integral part of your diet
• Probiotic and prebiotic foods help maintain a healthy gut
• You can take dietary supplements like vitamins after consulting with your doctor
- Practice Relaxing Activities
Practice innovative relaxing activities like massage, acupuncture, and music therapy to complement cancer treatment. These integrative therapies help patients lead a better quality of life. Music therapists at the cancer care center design unique relaxation and imagery exercises suited for you. It can help improve pain management, help express emotions, reduce anxiety, and promote relaxation while eventually improving the quality of life. Focusing on healing images can enhance treatment response.
- Get Adequate Sleep
Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Getting adequate sleep can help you improve your memory, attention span, weight, mood, and overall health. Here are some ways to maintain a proper sleep schedule;
• Wake up and sleep at a set time every day, even on weekends
• Make your bedroom as dark as possible around your sleep time
• Avoid caffeine, sugar, and alcohol
• Maintain the room temperature to be moderate
• Avoid screen time before sleep because the blue light from devices can mess with your circadian rhythms
• Create bedtime rituals to prepare your body for sleep
• Take one or two (30 minutes) naps during the day
• Use your bedroom for sleeping only
- Exercise Regularly
Mesothelioma and its treatment can make the patient physically weak. Therefore, staying active is essential for strengthening the body. However, discuss your fitness routine with your doctor to avoid over-exertion. Physical activity will help keep your bones and muscles strong. It also improves your health by keeping your heart strong and improving your circulation. Here are some exercise tips for mesothelioma patients;
• Incorporate short bursts of exercise at regular intervals throughout the day
• Choose walking over sitting whenever possible
• Include endurance activities like dancing, biking, and hiking in your exercise routine
• Anaerobic exercises like swimming can be beneficial to get your heart pumping
• Don’t sit for too long and stand up at regular intervals
• Indulge in strength exercises like weight lifting as they help build muscle
• Stretching activities like yoga can help deal with anxiety and depression
- Monitor Stress Level
Reducing and monitoring your stress levels is extremely important. A mesothelioma diagnosis can be emotional so looking after your mental health is also crucial. Stress can cause cancer cells to further proliferate, so managing it is extremely essential. Here are some tips to help you manage your stress levels and mental health;
• Invest your time in relaxation techniques like meditation and guided imagery
• Try to stay mindful throughout the day
• Set specific times of the day for reflection and meditation
• Deep breathing is an easy exercise that can be done anywhere to relax your mind
• Try to maintain a daily routine
- Avoid Known Carcinogens
Try to limit your exposure to environmental toxins known to cause cancer. These toxins may include asbestos exposure, tobacco smoke, styrene, and many more. Avoiding these stressors can provide some relief from the symptoms. It may also reduce the chance of cancer recurrence. For example, consistent asbestos exposure may accelerate the progression of mesothelioma.
Cigarette smoke also contains some quantities of asbestos. Therefore, do not smoke and do not be in the vicinity of cigarette smoke to protect yourself from the dangers of second-hand smoke.
- Manage Emotions
A mesothelioma diagnosis can be overwhelming. Managing your emotions can make a big difference in your cancer prognosis. Emotional support can improve your quality of life, and your treatment may also work effectively. Here are some ways to manage your emotions;
• Surrounding yourself with family, friends, and loved ones can create a support system to help you deal with mesothelioma.
• Support groups may consist of other cancer patients who can help you deal with all the emotions that come with a cancer diagnosis.
• Support others to continue this cycle of emotional support.
• Professional counselors can help you categorize and regulate your emotions as they have extensive work experience with cancer patients.
The Wrap Up
A mesothelioma diagnosis and treatment can be frustrating for the patient. Access to appropriate medical and legal support during the treatment process can make this journey somewhat more manageable. However, adjusting your lifestyle to include healthier habits in your life can improve your treatment response, alleviate symptoms and improve the quality of life. Healthy habits like getting adequate sleep, eating a balanced diet, managing stress and emotions through relaxing exercises can be beneficial.