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8 Diet Changes After Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Mesothelioma Diagnosis Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that affects only a small percentage of Americans annually. However, this does not make it harmless. Mesothelioma is among one of the deadliest cancers and claims thousands of lives each year.

Although there is no known cure for mesothelioma, therapies and diet can play a huge role in containing the disease. This article will give an insight into mesothelioma and the role of a good diet in improving the prognosis of the disease.

What is Mesothelioma?

Our major organs, including lungs, abdomen, and heart, are lined with a protective layer called mesothelium. Due to mutations caused by asbestos, the cells in the mesothelium start to grow abnormally. This is later diagnosed as mesothelioma.

  • Prognosis
Patients usually live for 12 to 21 months after the initial diagnosis. Mesothelioma grows steadily over the years without showing any major symptoms. It is diagnosed decades after asbestos exposure. This makes it quite difficult to contain and almost impossible to cure.

  • Treatment
The treatment includes traditional therapies like radiation and chemotherapy. In addition, many people are advised to go for alternate therapies alongside, like gene therapy, to increase their chances of survival.

If you are diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is best to keep yourself updated on treatment options. Many online resources like can provide you with authentic facts regarding the symptoms, prognosis, and available treatments of various forms of mesothelioma.

How Can a Good Diet Help?

  • Lower the Side-Effects
Chemotherapy and radiation work wonders against cancer, but they can be exhausting. The drugs administered for chemotherapy can damage the digestive tract and make you lose your appetite. This can result in nutritional deficiencies that can slow down your recovery rate.

  • Rebuild the Immune System
Your immune system takes a serious hit as the mesothelioma treatment continues. This can result in worsening conditions and intense side effects. A healthy diet goes a long way to rebuild the immune system and improve the prognosis.

Mesothelioma Diagnosis Diet Changes After Mesothelioma Diagnosis

After extensive research, dieticians and nutritionists have certain do’s and don’t’s when it comes to diet during treatment.

1. Incorporate Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals. Vitamins and minerals play an important role in boosting the immune system. They also play a role in suppressing the growth of tumors.

Here are a few examples of fruits and vegetables you can easily incorporate into your diet.

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Garlic
  • Oranges
  • Pears
  • Berries
Although fruits and vegetables are healthy, moderation is key. Some of these fruits and vegetables contain sugar and acid. Too much of these can cause severe damage to the body.

2. Consume More Grains and Fibers

Grains and fibers are important for active metabolism and digestion. Although there is no nutritional value of fibers in our diet, it plays a major role in digestion.

People who suffer from peritoneal mesothelioma often complain about constant diarrhea and constipation. This can be highly unpleasant, especially during radiation and chemotherapy. To counter this, mesothelioma patients are advised to consume a balanced amount of grains and fibers in their diet.

A few examples of grains and fibers include:
  • Oats
  • Barley
  • Brown rice

3. Stay Hydrated

We may not realize it, but a lot of water is released from the body when we are sick. Mesothelioma patients are often nauseous and face excessive diarrhea. This can prove to be extremely exhausting and dehydrating.

Mesothelioma patients are advised to keep themselves hydrated. This does not include only water. Liquid diets like shakes and smoothies are also included in this. They may also be easier to consume due to damage to the digestive tract and mouth sores common during chemotherapy.

4. Food Rich in Proteins and Calories

Our muscles are solely protein. Chemotherapy and radiation can cause serious damage to our muscle cells. This can result in excessive fatigue and malnutrition.

Food rich in proteins and calories can make a considerable difference towards the betterment of the general health of mesothelioma patients. High calorie and high protein diet can keep the energy level up and spare the patients from nutritional deficiencies.

The following food items are an easy source of proteins and calories.
  • Nuts
  • Seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, etc.)
  • Cheese (Cottage, Ricotta, etc.)
  • Eggs
  • Hummus
  • Chickpeas
Mesothelioma Diagnosis
5. Frequency over Quantity

Normally we are advised to take 2-3 big meals in a day. This helps us stay active and energized without gaining too much weight. Mesothelioma patients are a bit different.

During treatment, mesothelioma patients feel drained of energy. They also experience loss of appetite and indigestion. This can seriously hinder their food intake.

Nutritionists and dieticians recommend that mesothelioma patients take 4-5 small meals panned throughout the day instead of 2-3 big meals. This helps them easily digest a small amount of food at a time and also keeps them energized throughout the day.

6. Unsaturated vs. Trans Fats

Not all fats are bad. Some are necessary for the body to carry out normal functions. The deficiency of good fats can have serious health repercussions and result in disruption in hormonal regulation.

Unsaturated fats are good fats. They are mostly found in vegetable oils like canola oil and olive oil. They are also found in nuts and seeds. Some of these fats also demonstrate anticancer behavior. They prevent inflammation and stop the development of cancer cells in the body.

As opposed to this, saturated and trans fats are classified as harmful fats. Mesothelioma patients are advised against consuming food that contains moderate to high amounts of trans fats. They are usually found in red meat, baked goods, and fried food.

7. Stay Away From Alcohol

Even in general sickness, alcohol consumption is discouraged. This becomes especially important for mesothelioma patients.

Alcohol is found to have an adverse reaction with some of the mesothelioma medication. It also prevents the repair of damaged cells that later turn into tumors.

8. Follow the Food-Safety Regulations

Mesothelioma patients have to exercise extreme caution while handling food. Even the slightest mismanagement can cause serious side effects that may lead to life-threatening situations.

To avoid this, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided some regulations regarding food safety that can be beneficial for mesothelioma patients.

You are what you eat. 
We have heard this saying many times during our lives. A healthy diet can promote a healthy lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle, in turn, can improve our quality of life ten-fold.

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Any facts, figures or references stated here are made by the author & don't reflect the endorsement of iU at all times unless otherwise drafted by official staff at iU. This article was first published here on 5th March 2022.

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