Mesothelioma patients often have bad health outcomes and poor health-related quality of life. Common symptoms reported by mesothelioma patients are appetite loss and weight loss. Poor nutrition and low body mass index are also common.
Most mesothelioma patients would welcome exercise and nutrition advice. This advice might help them cope with their cancer, and its symptoms, better. But there are barriers to getting this kind of information into the hands of people who need it.
A clinical team from North Tyneside Hospital in the United Kingdom is looking into this. They have a new study called Help-Meso: Health and Lifestyle of Patients with Mesothelioma. Patients, caregivers, and health professionals will take part in the study.
Symptoms of Pleural Mesothelioma and Lung Cancer
Pleural mesothelioma is an asbestos-related cancer that affects the lungs. Mesothelioma patients have many of the same symptoms as lung cancer patients. Among other things, they tend to suffer from breathing problems, chest pain, cough, weakness, and fatigue.
Mesothelioma is most common in people over 65. Exercise and nutrition may not be high on their priority list anyway. After they get sick, it may be even harder to get physical activity and to eat well.
But many studies show that exercise and nutrition impact cancer outcomes. And they are important prognostic factors. Luckily, these can be reversed with good nutrition and exercise. But there isn’t a clear protocol for patients to follow.
New therapies that improve physical activity or muscle mass could benefit mesothelioma patients.
Learning More About Nutritional Health
The research team will look at the nutrition, appetite, and physical activity of mesothelioma patients. It will also look at their attitude towards lifestyle changes. Another aim of the study is to test a new nutritional screening tool. It is called the Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool (MUST).
MUST will help clinicians understand the number of patients who are at risk of malnutrition. And the number of patients who receive a referral for nutritional advice.
The team hopes data from this study will be used to create new therapies to improve the nutrition and quality of life of mesothelioma patients.
Taylor, L., Swainston, K., Hurst, C., Aujayeb, A., Poulter, H., & Dismore, L. (2022). Health and Lifestyle of Patients with Mesothelioma: Protocol for the Help-Meso Study. Journal of Respiration, 2(3), 129-138. https://www.mdpi.com/2673-527X/2/3/11