In the past, mesothelioma was seen as an incurable cancer. Treatments were once one-size-fits-all, and old studies reported dismal survival rates.
But recently, technological advancements and personalized treatments have yielded much more promising results. Patients have new sources of hope that they can live with the cancer – and many of them are indeed living far longer than their doctors originally estimated.
Patients have also learned new ways to improve their quality of life after their diagnosis. With a combination of clinical treatments and alternative therapies, many patients are able to control the symptoms, like pain and difficulty breathing.
Nutrition therapy is one of the most popular tactics for patients living with mesothelioma. Specialized diet plans (provided by an oncology nutritionist) can help patients trigger their body’s natural cancer-fighting abilities. Patients can also choose foods that have a calming effect on certain symptoms – such as ginger for nausea or cherry bark tea for uncontrollable coughing. Additionally, patients can use juicing as a way to add extra cancer-fighting nutrients to their diets.
Patients often choose to explore therapeutic massage, yoga or aromatherapy to ease symptoms or side effects of treatment. These activities can help calm anxiety and diffuse stress, while offering physical benefits like pain relief. Art therapy and pet therapy are also calming experiences that many cancer patients use to counteract the mental stress of their diagnosis.
Inspirational Survivor Stories
Thanks to support groups and online mesothelioma communities, patients can now connect with more survivors than ever. Survivors’ stories show patients that there really is hope for a future – and one that can be much longer than doctors predict.
Pleural mesothelioma survivor Tim Crisler was diagnosed in 2002; fellow survivor Julie King received her diagnosis 33 years ago. Both are still alive – and thriving. Both of these survivors (and dozens more) have shared their inspirational stories on The Mesothelioma Center’s Wall of Hope.
Some survivors have blogs that chronicle their daily life with mesothelioma. For instance, Jan Egerton writes Jan’s Journey about her 15-year experience with the cancer. These bloggers often share several posts a week, filled with details about their symptoms, treatment plans and successes. For others dealing with the same condition, these stories can help them believe that they’re strong enough to survive.
Author bio: Faith Franz has spent nearly two years researching and writing for The Mesothelioma Center. As an advocate for alternative medicine, she encourages patients to explore all of the treatment options that could potentially save their life.