Taking action to optimize your lifestyle and health care can improve your prognosis and increase your life expectancy. Don’t delay. Every day counts. Seek professionals with experience in pleural mesothelioma treatment to help you make decisions about your care.
Seek Guidance from Specialists
Working with a mesothelioma expert or specialized treatment center is the best step you can take to improve your prognosis.
Since this type of cancer is extremely rare compared to other cancers, not many doctors or cancer centers have access to the necessary tools or enough experience to diagnosis and treat it effectively. Specialists are the only ones who truly understand the intricacies involved in ensuring you have the best possible care.
We know finding a new doctor on your own can be stressful, which is why we’ve dedicated our free Doctor Match program to helping patients find the right specialist for their specific diagnosis.
We can also help you locate the top mesothelioma treatment centers. Although the majority of cancer centers are located in the Northeast, other specialty centers are found across the country.
Learn About Established Treatments
Most people with pleural mesothelioma can improve their prognosis by electing cancer treatment. How much a person’s prognosis may improve with treatment depends on the stage in which they are diagnosed, their tumor cell type and their overall health.
People with early-stage tumors and the epithelial cell type can benefit from a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, which is called a multimodal approach. Alone, each of these treatments can alleviate symptoms, but combining them is associated with better life expectancies than any singular treatment. However, not everyone qualifies for this aggressive treatment approach.
Median Survival Period of Pleural Mesothelioma Patients According to a 2011 Study
|With Surgical Treatment||710 days|
|Without Surgical Treatment||288 days|
Patients with late-stage pleural mesothelioma usually benefit the most from palliative treatments, which focus on relieving cancer symptoms and improving quality of life. Though palliative treatments aim to reduce pain and discomfort, they can also extend survival as well.
Consider Participating in a Clinical Trail
Clinical trials test new and emerging treatment options. Many participants have improved their prognosis and even reached remission, thanks to the work of researchers. The U.S. National Institutes of Health maintains a list of dozens of different clinical trials for pleural mesothelioma in various phases and in multiple trial sites across the U.S.
Many clinical trials test new chemotherapy drugs, new combinations of drugs or new pairings of drugs with other types of treatments.
Other clinical trials test the effectiveness of experimental techniques such as immunotherapy, photodynamic therapy, viral therapy and nutritional therapy.
Take Care of Your Overall Health
The healthier you are, the better your body can fight the cancer. Having good overall health and physical fitness will also help you endure the side effects of cancer treatments and live better.
- To boost your immune system, eat a balanced, nutritious diet rich in vegetables and fruit and low in sugar and fat.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
- Talk to an oncology nutritionist who can recommend specific dietary changes that will strengthen your body.
Other lifestyle changes that can improve your prognosis include being more active when you are up and getting better rest when you are down.
- Find simple ways to get regular light exercise, and do things you enjoy to keep your mind engaged.
- Get quality sleep and plenty of it to help your body recover from treatment.
- If you’re a smoker, you can especially improve your lung function and overall health by quitting immediately.
Reduce Your Stress
Leading a low-stress lifestyle can improve your overall health, which will improve how your body responds to cancer treatment. Take a look at the stressors in your life and see what you can do to manage them and reduce the frustration and anxiety you experience.
- Take responsibilities off your plate, spend time with loved ones and do activities you enjoy.
- Get the emotional support you need by reaching out to loved ones, joining a support group or meeting with a mental health counselor.
- Your quality of life may be further improved with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practices such as massage, acupuncture and meditation.
CAM therapies come in a wide variety — some are as simple as working with a personal trainer to create a special diet and exercise plan, while others are based on mystical belief systems that deal with energy fields and the mind-body connection. Whatever therapy you choose, always be open and honest with your doctors to ensure it won’t interfere with your medical treatment.
Above all, try to keep a positive attitude, and remember that our Patient Advocates are here to provide you free assistance in locating medical and financial resources and answering any medical questions you may have about pleural mesothelioma.