Benefits Of Dietary Modifications & Physical Exercises In Patients With Asbestos-Related Cancers

Gregory A. Cade, Founder & Principal Attorney, Environmental Litigation GroupGregory holds a M.P.H. in Occupational Health, Safety & Industrial Hygiene from the University of Alabama, Birmingham, and specializes in the area of Environmental & Occupation Law. He uses the knowledge acquired during his Industrial Hygiene degree in handling injuries resulting from exposure to asbestos, benzene, creosote, coke emissions, dioxins, and other known toxicants.

Asbestos-related cancers develop as a result of prolonged inhalation or ingestion of tiny asbestos fibers. Often, the term ‘asbestos cancer’ refers to mesothelioma, but other malignancies such as lung cancer, laryngeal cancer, and ovarian cancer are linked to asbestos exposure. A highly nutritious diet comprising of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and plenty of water is important for cancer patients, as it provides energy, helps maintain proper muscle mass, and supports the immune system.

Diet & Nutrition for Mesothelioma Patients
The most common problem of mesothelioma patients is insufficient protein and calorie intake. It is essential to get yourself a balanced and healthy diet that can help you feel better by fighting-off infection, managing cancer treatment side effects, and facilitating faster recovery. While it may be difficult for you to eat due to the effects of treatment, you will have to follow healthy eating guidelines and find the best mesothelioma diet for you.

Increasing the protein portion of your plate and decreasing the whole grains a little works well for most mesothelioma patients. Include starchy vegetables such as potatoes and sweet potatoes in place of salads, green vegetables, and other low-calorie foods. You may also add a high-protein, high-calorie liquid nutrition supplement to your diet after consulting your doctor.

Superfoods that Aid Recovery
Certain foods are rich in nutrients that support recovery following treatment and can be included in your diet. These foods are:

• Omega-3 fatty acids: Abundant in fish, they help reduce harmful weight loss and controls metastasis.

• Fiber-rich foods: Fruits, vegetables such as potatoes, beans, and nuts help balance insulin levels and minimize the growth of cancer cells.

• Spices: Basil, oregano, rosemary, mint, dill, and turmeric are known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

• Coenzyme Q: This nutrient is present in lentils, soybeans, peanuts, sardines, chick-en, and pork. It protects the heart from chemotherapy side effects and damage.

• Herbal Teas: Green tea is rich in
anti-oxidants. Chamomile, ginger, and mint teas have anti-cancer properties.

Vitamins, Minerals & Other Dietary Supplements
Some patients with mesothelioma may develop a nutrient deficiency and require a vitamin supplement. Your doctor will advise if you need to take any dietary supplements. It is better to avoid dietary supplements during mesothelioma treatment, as these can reduce the effectiveness of cancer therapy.

How to Plan Your Meal
Here are some of the tips that can help plan your meal and craft your mesothelioma diet:
• Eat small meals several times a day instead of having three large ones.
• Always include a protein portion- fish, egg, poultry, beans, or peanut butter-at each meal.
• Choose high-calorie drinks such as milkshakes.

Eating the right foods and exercising well help cancer patients a long way in improving their quality of life

Planning Nutrition During Treatment
Cancer treatment may affect your normal eating habits, and therefore, you need to take some proactive measures to make sure you meet your nutritional needs.

Surgery: You need to gain weight before undergoing surgery if you are underweight. Healthy body weight is necessary to facilitate recovery, wound healing, and reduce the risk of infection.

Chemotherapy: This type of treatment may cause difficulty in chewing food and digestion because the cells in the mouth, digestive tract, and hair follicles are likely to die. Cold, lukewarm, and soft foods may help relieve mouth sores. Some patients receiving Cisplatin drug may have extreme cold sensitivity. It is better to avoid cold or frozen food in such cases.

Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy around the chest may affect swallowing. Soft foods and liquids are recommended in such situations.

Pain Medications: A few pain medications can cause side effects such as nausea, reduced appetite, and constipation. Increasing dietary fiber intake and drinking plenty of water helps curb constipation.

Safe Physical Exercises for Mesothelioma Patients
Gentle physical activity for a few days a week is highly recommended by oncologists during cancer therapy and recovery. Exercises help to increase muscle mass and strength, reduces fatigue, and has a positive impact on your mood and thus improves quality of life. Usually, mesothelioma patients face difficulty with breathing and experience chest pain and decreased energy levels, which in-turn reduce their ability to exercise. So, what do you do if you don't feel like exercising? You will need to avoid inactivity and start with gentle exercises that add-up once you do it regularly. Your body will naturally respond to repetition and develop endurance to sustain more activity.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 30 minutes of activity for five days a week. All household chores, gardening, and walking are gentle ways of avoiding inactivity. Other than these, low-impact exercises such as swimming, cycling, Yoga, and Tai Chi are safe for mesothelioma patients.

Benefits of Exercise in Cancer patients
Cancer patients can derive immense benefits from doing regular exercises. Exercise increases your appetite, body mass, and muscular strength, boosts energy and reduces the effects of stress and chemotherapy-related peripheral neuropathy. Overall, it improves mood and quality of life in cancer patients.

Research has revealed that lung cancer patients experienced decreased incidences of breathlessness and better muscle strength after exercising two times a week for eight weeks. Additionally, research has also shown that exercise increases the patient's chance of completing the treatment both physically as well as psychologically. Exercising during treatment and recovery phase can reduce the long-term effects of cancer treatment. Thus, eating the right foods and exercising well help cancer patients a long way in improving their quality of life.