Mesothelioma: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Options to Improve Health
Mesothelioma is an aggressive and deadly form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. It usually develops in the protective lining of organs, such as the lungs or abdomen, but can also affect the heart and other body parts. Mesothelioma has long been associated with long-term asbestos exposure and is considered one of the most serious occupational hazards.
What Causes Mesothelioma?
The only known cause of mesothelioma is direct or indirect exposure to asbestos fibers. People who work in industries that use asbestos, live in communities in which asbestos was used in the past, or are exposed to asbestos dust through renovations or repairs in the workplace or home are at an increased risk of developing mesothelioma.
Common Symptoms of Mesothelioma
The most common symptoms of mesothelioma include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chronic cough
- Difficulty swallowing
- Pain in the chest
- Weight loss or loss of appetite
- Fever and/or fatigue
- Lumps or swelling in the abdomen or chest
Treatment Options for Mesothelioma
Treatment options for mesothelioma include:
- Surgery – Surgery is performed to remove as much of the cancerous tissue as possible, such as removing the affected lung or portion of the lining of the chest cavity.
- Chemotherapy – Chemotherapy drugs are used to kill mesothelioma cells. The drugs may be injected directly into the chest or abdominal cavity.
- Radiation therapy – Radiation therapy is used to target mesothelioma cells and reduce their growth.
- Alternative therapies – Alternative therapies such as acupuncture, massage, yoga, and nutritional supplements may improve the quality of life for mesothelioma patients.
Tips for Improving Health with Mesothelioma
Patients with mesothelioma can take proactive steps to improve their health, such as:
- Careful monitoring of symptoms – Keeping track of symptoms can help patients and their health care team stay one step ahead of the disease.
- Healthy diet – A healthy diet reduces inflammation and helps the body better fight cancer, while eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can help strengthen the immune system.
- Exercise – Exercise increases circulation, strengthens the lungs and heart, and helps patients cope with the side effects of treatment.
- Quitting smoking – Smoking increases the risk of complications from mesothelioma, such as heart and lung disease, and it can slow healing after cancer treatment.
Mesothelioma is a serious and aggressive form of cancer, but patients can improve health and quality of life with careful monitoring, healthy diet and exercise, and quitting smoking. Treatment options, such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and alternative therapies are available to treat the disease.