Nutrition & Diet Tips for Mesothelioma Patients
A mesothelioma patient’s poor diet can be a difficult challenge to overcome. Because mesothelioma can leave an individual drained of energy and without appetite, those providing care for mesothelioma patients should use all possible diet tricks and tips to help the patients stay as strong as possible while battling mesothelioma. Nutrition is key, but complicating this diet process is the fact that the debilitating effects of cancer of the mesothelium – whether peritoneal, pericardialor pleural – make it especially difficult for a patient to keep up a normal intake of good nutrients.
Why Diet Is Important for a Mesothelioma Patient
Diet is important for mesothelioma patients because by the time individuals are diagnosed with this cancer, it’s entirely possible they have already lost up to 10 percent of their body weight. Mesothelioma is present long before its symptoms show, and can take up to 50 years to develop after initial asbestos exposure. It is therefore extremely important for all affected individuals to start a mesothelioma diet program as soon as they are diagnosed.
Mesothelioma patients and their food needs should be monitored closely so as to minimize the impact of the cancer and its damaging effects on the body. Mesothelioma can depress the appetite and have other deleterious effects such as:
- dry and/or sore mouth
- extreme fatigue
Older Mesothelioma Patients and Diet
As an added factor, in many cases, individuals are in their fifties, sixties, or beyond at the time of mesothelioma diagnosis, and the advanced age of patients may already have presented diet and other health problems. For older individuals, several factors may contribute to diet challenges including:
- a lifetime of poor diet habits that may be hard to break
- a natural loss of the need for sleep and food with aging
- stubbornness linked to dementia
- a possibly weaker immune system
To help deal with all of these things, encouraging a mesothelioma patient’s consumption of the right kinds of food (and adequate amounts of food) is perhaps the most important role that family members or other caregivers can take on in helping patients battle mesothelioma. Nutrition is important, and it can be provided for patients when caregivers know what, how, and how much a cancer patient should be eating as they serve as invaluable adjuncts to patients’ medical treatment.
In Preparation for Mesothelioma or Lung Cancer Treatment
Establishing a healthy diet is particularly important for mesothelioma patients as they prepare for treatment such as surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy. Being well nourished before these therapeutic measures can maximize a mesothelioma patient’s strength, immunity, energy, and ability to deal with the serious side effects of treatment.
In contrast, for mesothelioma victims who are receiving palliative, end-of-life care, dietary concerns focus more on providing pleasurable eating experiences and enough nutrition simply to make the patient comfortable.
Ask the Physician about Food for a Mesothelioma Patient
The best source for guidelines regarding a mesothelioma patient’s food needs is their treating physician(s), who can provide food information that is tailored specifically to the patient’s circumstances, taking into account the patient’s:
- medical history
- stage of mesothelioma
- treatment modality (e.g., surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination)
- physical status
In the meantime, here is some general information about mesothelioma survival food for patients:
Food Guidelines for a Cancer Patient Are Different
Although food guidelines for healthy individuals generally recommend a diet that includes a lot of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, but less meat and dairy and minimal salt, fat and sugar, recommendations for mesothelioma patients are significantly different. Food guidelines for a person with cancer often focus on higher-calorie and higher-protein foods such as:
- meat, including beef and chicken
- whole milk
- sauces, gravies and salad dressings
- butter, margarine, oil
The focus on these foods is intended to help a cancer patient gain or maintain strength and tolerate his or her treatment(s) for mesothelioma. It may also be a challenge for a patient with mesothelioma or another cancer to eat enough to get adequate levels of nutrients, and the above calorie and nutrient-dense foods will help in this regard.
Get Mesothelioma Diet Help
We can help you understand your diet options, as well as provide a good lawyer or attorney that can help you understand your legal rights. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos cancer, you should speak with a doctor about designing an appropriate diet plan that will help with treatment. For more information and resources about mesothelioma and nutrition, to get information about the right diet for a mesothelioma patient, and to find out where to obtain useful recipes, please contact Mesothelioma Treatment Centers today.