Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs, chest wall, or abdomen. It is caused by exposure to asbestos, a mineral that was once commonly used in construction and manufacturing. Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer that is difficult to treat, and conventional treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery may not be effective or may have significant side effects.
Many patients with mesothelioma turn to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to help manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. CAM includes a diverse array of therapies and practices, including herbal and dietary supplements, acupuncture, massage therapy, and mindfulness meditation. While not all CAM treatments are supported by scientific evidence, many have shown promise in improving mesothelioma outcomes.
One of the most common types of CAM used by mesothelioma patients is herbal and dietary supplements. These supplements are often marketed as natural remedies that can help shrink tumors, boost the immune system, and reduce inflammation. Some of the most commonly used supplements for mesothelioma include:
Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body. It is believed to stimulate the flow of energy, or qi, and improve the body's natural healing processes. Acupuncture is often used by mesothelioma patients to help manage pain and improve their overall sense of well-being.
Several studies have shown that acupuncture can be effective in reducing pain and other symptoms associated with mesothelioma. For example, a 2016 study found that acupuncture was more effective than standard care in reducing pain and improving quality of life in mesothelioma patients.
Massage therapy is a form of manual manipulation that involves applying pressure to the soft tissues of the body, including the muscles and connective tissues. It is often used as a complementary therapy to help manage pain, reduce stress, and improve overall well-being.
Several studies have shown that massage therapy can be effective in reducing pain and other symptoms associated with mesothelioma. For example, a 2019 study found that massage therapy was effective in reducing pain, anxiety, and depression in mesothelioma patients.
Mindfulness meditation is a form of meditation that involves focusing on the present moment and accepting one's thoughts and feelings without judgment. It is often used as a complementary therapy to reduce stress and promote relaxation.
Several studies have shown that mindfulness meditation can be effective in reducing stress and anxiety in mesothelioma patients. For example, a 2018 study found that mindfulness-based stress reduction was effective in reducing anxiety and depression in mesothelioma patients receiving chemotherapy.
Complementary and alternative medicine can be a valuable tool for mesothelioma patients seeking to manage their symptoms and improve their overall quality of life. While not all CAM therapies are supported by scientific evidence, many have shown promise in reducing pain, boosting the immune system, and improving mental health. If you are considering using CAM as a part of your mesothelioma treatment plan, be sure to consult with your doctor and explore all available options to ensure that you are receiving the best possible care.