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Fighting Mesothelioma Through Better Nutrition

Whether your diet before a mesothelioma diagnosis was burgers and fries or tofu and sprouts, now is the time to clean it up and start anew. Diet can play a major role in improving health, both mentally and physically.

At the Mesothelioma Support Network, we take diet and healthy eating very seriously. We believe that eating healthy can change your outlook on life, which can impact your outlook on your mesothelioma diagnosis. While diet alone cannot cure mesothelioma, some mesothelioma patients have improved their overall prognosis. In the book “What to Eat if You Have Cancer,” one of the authors, Maureen Keane, said “nutritional therapy helps your immune system to perform its job better while it supports your healthy cells and protects your body during the stress of cancer treatment.” The author goes on to say that nutritional therapy, along with traditional cancer treatments, will increase the chances for a cure and improve the overall quality of life. We believe so much in the diet connection that we are offering this book for free.

Benefits Of Healing Foods For Mesothelioma Patients

From early childhood, we are taught about proper nutrition. But it never becomes more important than when your immune system is compromised and your body needs wholesome nourishment. A balanced diet consists of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, protein and healthy fats. It does not include saturated fats and too much sugar and salt.

For those undergoing mesothelioma treatment, getting good nutrition may be difficult. Both chemotherapy and radiation treatment are known to cause a variety of difficult side effects --including nausea, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting and mouth sores -- that make eating problematic and undesirable. For patients and their caregivers, there are tips to making nutritious food more palatable:

If treatment is making you nauseous and sick, ask your doctor for help. There are a number of effective medications that help settle an upset stomach and stop vomiting.

Talk with a dietician before writing a grocery-shopping list. A dietician knows how to transform a favorite unhealthy recipe to a healthy and delicious one.

Following chemotherapy or radiation treatment, some foods, including soft cheeses, undercooked meats and raw vegetables should be avoided because they can carry contaminates that could be harmful.

Eat smaller meals but try to make them rich in vitamins, minerals, lean proteins and fiber. Patients can benefit from eating ginger and peppermint, which help settle upset stomachs.

Like other cancer patients, mesothelioma patients are at a high risk for anorexia and cachexia, which both cause severe and problematic weight loss. It’s important to talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding weight loss.

Supplements During Mesothelioma Treatment

According to “What To Eat If You Have Cancer,” having a balance of vitamins and minerals is vital to keeping healthy. There are some key points patients should remember:

  • Ask your doctor if you should be taking vitamin supplements. These are sometime responsibles for causing stomach upset, so chemotherapy and radiation patients need to be cautious.
  • Cancer patients are at risk for vitamin and mineral deficiencies because diarrhea, loss of appetite and decreased absorption due to medications and treatments.
  • Know the difference between water- and fat-soluble vitamins. Always try to get your vitamins through fresh fruits and raw vegetables.
  • Vitamin C and E can be vital to a cancer patient because of their antioxidant properties.
  • Vitamin A may help inhibit the development and growth of cancerous tumors, but chemotherapy zaps vitamin A levels.

Nutritionist or Dietician – Knowing The Difference

In addition to an oncologist ( link to Find Your Doctor page) and other medical doctors on your care team, a nutritionist or dietician can be additions. Both nutritionists and dieticians are food and nutrition experts, but there are some differences:

A registered dietician has earned a bachelor’s degree, and in some cases a post-graduate degree, through an accredited program. All registered dieticians are licensed and must take continuing education classes. Only a registered dietician can use the title “dietician.”

A Certified Nutrition Specialist (C.N.S.) is someone who has earned at least a master’s degree in nutrition from an accredited college and passed certification board testing. However, many people call themselves a nutritionist without having any formal training or education. It is best to take nutritional advice from those who are formally trained in the field.

Some physicians are considered to be nutritionists if they have completed extra coursework in the nutrition field. This is often considered part of Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

For detailed information about healthy eating benefits while undergoing cancer treatments, contact us today for a free, no obligation copy of “What to Eat if You Have Cancer.”

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