Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Alternative Treatment Methods for Mesothelioma Patients

This is an article posted with permission of The Mesothelioma Center.

Alternative Treatment Methods for Mesothelioma Patients

Mesothelioma is a difficult cancer to treat. It does not always respond well to curative options, and the treatments that have the potential to shrink the tumors can cause their own set of complications. Most patients are elderly, making them poor candidates for certain

aggressive therapies. As a result, many patients turn to alternative treatment methods to either replace or enhance the traditional methods of mesothelioma treatment.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine estimates that 38 percent of all adults use some form of non-conventional medicine. Some patients use alternative therapies as their sole method of mesothelioma treatment. Other patients use them as a complement to surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy. This approach is also known as integrative medicine.

Alternative mesothelioma therapies can range from simple breathing exercises to therapeutic massage or acupuncture. Each of these therapies can address a different set of mesothelioma symptoms. Many of these therapies are effective at relieving pain and anxiety. Others can reduce fatigue, insomnia, nausea or digestive distress. Patients often participate in several palliative therapies at the same time to manage their entire set of symptoms.

Symptom management is typically the primary focus of these alternative therapies. While some of them can stimulate the body’s natural cancer-fighting abilities, oncologists generally consider them palliative in nature. This means that they are not directly intended to cure pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma.

Because they are gentle, though, alternative treatments rarely put patients at risk for additional side effects. This makes them ideal for seniors who do not wish to add any complications to their already delicate condition. While they are safe for almost mesothelioma patients to practice, patients should always check with their oncologist before incorporating them into their treatment plan.

Common Alternative Care Options for Mesothelioma Patients

Mesothelioma patients can engage in a number of different alternative therapies. Some of the most common include:

• Massage therapy
• Acupuncture
• Aromatherapy
• Reflexology
• Homeopathy
• Nutritional counseling

Additional palliative therapies are especially appealing to seniors because the patient does not need to arrange treatment to or from a treatment center. Yoga, supplementation, juicing and visualization exercises are a few common palliative care options that patients can perform in the comfort of their own homes.
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners can help patients choose the therapies that are most beneficial for their disease. Because of alternative medicine’s rising popularity, many large hospitals – including several that are leaders in mesothelioma care – offer integrative medicine centers to help patients develop an appropriate CAM regimen for their condition.

Author bio: Faith Franz researches and writes about health-related issues for The Mesothelioma Center. One of her focuses is living with cancer.


  1. The Cancer Odyssey The links in the article were dropped with the posting. Here they are: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine peritoneal mesothelioma The Mesothelioma Center
    Home Page | NCCAM

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