Malignant Mesothelioma Therapy
Malignant mesothelioma is a highly aggressive form of cancer. While various types of mesothelioma therapy may slow the progress of the disease and reduce the discomfort of its symptoms, they cannot cure it. As a result, some patients seek out alternative forms of mesothelioma therapy in addition to—or instead of—the conventional medical treatments for the disease such as radiation therapy, lung cancer chemotherapy, or mesothelioma chemotherapy using drugs such as Cisplatin or Pemetrexed.
Alternative Mesothelioma Therapy Options
Alternative mesothelioma therapy options usually exist outside the realm of traditional medical care practices. These alternatives to established mesothelioma therapy are sought by patients who are in the midst of any of level of therapy, from a stage 1 mesothelioma treatment that can improve a patient’s quality of life to Stage 4 mesothelioma therapy options that are palliative in nature.
Most alternative mesothelioma therapy options seek to alleviate discomfort, ease stress, and help the patient feel that they are contributing to their treatment and well being. They also may be viable options for patients who want to pursue a clinical trial that has been closed or completed.
While the Mayo Clinic has stated that no type of alternative treatment has “proved helpful in treating mesothelioma,” it has also acknowledged that some alternative treatments could be effective in controlling symptoms. Among the alternative mesothelioma therapy options it recommends (contingent on a doctor’s approval) are:
Acupuncture: Inserting thin needles into your skin at precise points to alleviate pain and improve muscle relaxation.
Breath training: Breathing methods can be taught by a nurse or physical therapist to help alleviate the panic some mesothelioma patients feel when they suddenly feel breathless and help them feel more in control of their breathing.
Relaxation exercises: Slowly tensing and relaxing different muscle groups, sometimes with the aid of a therapist, may help a patient feel more at ease and breathe easier.
Sitting near a fan: Simply sitting with a fan in front of their face may help ease the sensation of breathlessness.
There are also mind-body techniques that may help mesothelioma patients while they receive conventional mesothelioma therapy. These include meditation, hypnosis, relaxation techniques, behavioral therapy, bio feedback, and guided imagery.
Avoid These Alternatives to Mesothelioma Therapy
While alternative mesothelioma therapy treatments can assist patients at times, there are also some that are dangerous. Receiving high doses of vitamins E, A, and possibly C, Laetrile, Chaparral, Shark Cartilage, Pau D’arco, and PC-SPES (an herbal concoction for prostate health) are risky for mesothelioma patients.
Other forms of alternative mesothelioma therapy deemed unsafe for patients due to dangerous drug or hormone interactions include:
- St. John’s Wort
- Fish oil, garlic, ginger, gingko, feverfew
- Magnesium and thiazide
- Red clover, dong quai, licorice
- Folic Acid
Always consult a doctor before trying any type of alternative mesothelioma therapy to ensure there is not a risk of suffering potentially dangerous side effects.