Treatment for mesothelioma is usually provided by a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, or by an emerging treatment such as immunotherapy or gene therapy. However, complementary treatments can provide additional relief from symptoms or help patients during recovery after their primary treatment is delivered.
In cases where a cure for mesothelioma is not likely, such as with a Stage 4 diagnosis when the cancer has spread throughout the body, palliative care may still be an option. This type of care uses many of the techniques described above, but focuses on relieving the pain and suffering of the patient, rather than trying to eradicate the disease.
For example, one of the most debilitating symptoms of pleural mesothelioma is the build-up of fluid in the pleural space around the lungs. This collection of fluid makes it very difficult to breathe and also can cause severe pain. It greatly impacts the quality of life for the patient and can make it difficult to do every day tasks. The best way to relieve this discomfort is to have the fluid removed by means of a pleurocentesis.
In addition to or as an alternative to invasive procedures, medication to help with pain, difficulty breathing, and other symptoms that may be experienced is often prescribed. Click on the following link to learn more about pain management as well as its associated risks.
After the primary treatment, physical therapy is often required to help patients recover from the trauma of the treatment itself. The specific form of physical therapy a patient undergoes will depend on the specific type of treatment they receive, and how their body reacts to it. Common types of physical therapy include cardiovascular training, scar tissue healing, fatigue management, and strength training. While physical therapy will not necessarily help eradicate cancer or prevent recurrence, it can improve a mesothelioma survivor’s quality of life and overall health.
Many patients have found relief from physical and emotional symptoms through different forms of alternative treatment, including everything from massage and acupuncture to yoga and art therapy. The important thing is to consult your doctor before trying one of these alternative treatments, to make sure it will not interfere with your primary treatment plan.