For people who received a mesothelioma diagnosis in recent years, making new year’s resolutions can seem like a futile thing to do.
But mental health experts say healthy resolutions can help us focus on the future and stay positive. Positive mesothelioma patients may experience less pain and enjoy a higher quality of life. In light of that, here are five new year’s resolutions for mesothelioma patients to consider.
New Year’s Resolution #1 – Look for clinical trials
There is no cure for malignant mesothelioma. Even the best standard treatments, including chemotherapy and radiotherapy, are often only minimally effective.
One of the best ways for mesothelioma patients to connect with new and emerging treatments is to participate in a mesothelioma clinical trial. Providers often let patients know about open clinical trials for which they might qualify. But patients can search, too. Clinicaltrials.gov is the best place to start searching for a mesothelioma clinical trial.
New Year’s Resolution #2 – Be honest about pain
One of the most common symptoms of pleural mesothelioma is chest pain. As mesothelioma spreads across the membrane around the lungs, it becomes harder and more painful for the lungs to expand. Patients with the peritoneal form of mesothelioma may experience abdominal pain.
Many patients come to regard this pain as inevitable. But pain-relieving technologies and medications are evolving.
Palliative medicine is a branch of medicine focused on relieving symptoms like pain. If you or a family member is experiencing life-limiting pain because of mesothelioma or treatment, resolve to talk to your doctor about palliative options.
New Year’s Resolution #3 – Stay active
Malignant mesothelioma and its treatment can be draining. But there is good evidence that patients who manage to stay active through their treatment have the best outcomes.
A 2018 Australian study showed exercise helped mesothelioma patients battle issues like fatigue, poor sleep, depression, and reduced appetite. Exercise can also strengthen the immune system and reduce nausea.
Australia’s Clinical Oncology Society calls exercise “a safe and effective intervention” for dealing with the adverse effects of mesothelioma. The COSA guidelines recommend at least two-and-a-half hours of moderate exercise each week. They also recommend two to three weekly resistance exercises.
New Year’s Resolution #4 – Pay attention to diet
Nutrition has a direct impact on quality of life for mesothelioma patients. A 2019 study of 4,500 mesothelioma patients found that malnourished patients had the worst treatment outcomes.
Previous studies have shown that patients with the best nutritional status live longer with mesothelioma. The 2019 nutrition study found that more than half of older mesothelioma patients were malnourished.
Cancer experts recommend a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and lean proteins to maintain nutritional status during mesothelioma treatment. Learn more about lifestyle and dietary habits for mesothelioma in “Surviving Mesothelioma and Other Cancers” by Paul Kraus.
New Year’s Resolution #5 – Keep yourself informed
Mesothelioma is not curable yet. But researchers around the world are continually searching for a way to combat asbestos cancer. Every week, scientists publish new information that could lead to new mesothelioma treatments.
Patients and their loved ones should resolve to advocate for themselves by staying informed about new studies. Surviving Mesothelioma is committed to bringing you the very latest mesothelioma research news. Check back regularly to learn about new and emerging treatments and theories.
Cormie, P, et al, “Clinical Oncology Society of Australia position statement on exercise in cancer care”, May 7, 2018, The Medical Journal of Australia, Epub ahead of print
De Pinho, NB, et al, “High prevalence of malnutrition and nutrition impact symptoms in older patients with cancer: Results of a Brazilian multicenter study”, September 9, 2019, Cancer, Epub ahead of print, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/cncr.32437
“What is Palliative Care?”, https://getpalliativecare.org/whatis/