Life after a cancer diagnosis can be different for every patient. Still, there are specific lifestyle changes that everyone needs to incorporate into their routines to get back to normal while on the road to recovery. Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer, and out of ten, eight patients develop the condition after asbestos exposure. Asbestos fibers travel through small air passages and reach the pleura, causing cysts and inflammation after extended exposure. Hence, medical research considers asbestos the primary cause of mesothelioma cancer.
Living with mesothelioma can be challenging and lead to emotional, mental, and physical distress in humans. The affected organs could have fluid build-ups, and it can cause excessive body pain plus loss of weight. Besides this, mesothelioma treatments like radiotherapy, surgery, or chemotherapy can bring about problems like fatigue, nausea, and hair loss. A healthy lifestyle is essential in this situation to improve the condition and alleviate these symptoms and side effects. Opting for some healthy habits can reduce the chances of cancer recurrence and improve quality of life. Let’s look at some necessary lifestyle changes after mesothelioma diagnosis:
- Controlling Stress Level
The period after mesothelioma diagnosis and the duration of treatment is not an easy time, neither for the patient nor their caregivers. It is essential to monitor their stress levels regularly and possibly reduce the disruptive reasons behind it. Patients must understand, and caregivers should teach them the importance of taking care of their emotional and mental well-being because dynamic pressure can further advance the cancer cells in the body.
Practical legal assistance can help alleviate worries about financial aid for medical, lawsuits, and lost wages. Other than this, they should invest their time in using relaxation activities like meditation, mindfulness, reflection, and breathing exercises. Even a twenty-minute break from the usual routine of life to manage thoughts could be conducive to controlling stress levels.
- A Balanced Diet
It is essential to care about your physical well-being and mental health. A balanced and healthy diet improves the quality of life and helps achieve holistic healing. As a mesothelioma patient, you should consult a nutritionist to construct a diet plan that can help fulfill your body’s nutritional needs. You must listen to your body – there’s nothing wrong with eating when hungry and not when you don’t feel like it.
Try eating solid foods, possibly in small portions, six times a day, and avoid drinking too many fluids. To keep your immune system healthy, avoid processed foods and add a mixture of fruits and vegetables to your daily meals. Go for food high in fiber, such as grains, nuts, seeds, and white meat. Stay away from smoking and alcohol intake, and maintain a healthy gut with probiotic and prebiotic foods.
- Regular Exercise
Exercise is an essential part of the lifestyle of any healthy person, but it should particularly become regular for those with mesothelioma. This cancer and its treatment can result in physical weakness, and so the body needs strengthening. Hence, after discussing your routine with your physician to avoid over-exertion, set a time for physical activity in your daily life. It will help improve muscle and bone strength and strengthen your immune system by enhancing blood circulation.
Regular walks, zumba, biking, swimming, and other short bursts of exercise throughout the day could improve physical health by improving heart activity. You can also try activities like yoga to manage and control stress levels.
- Proper Sleeping Schedule
A poor sleeping schedule could not only worsen the situation, but it increases the chance of cancer recurrence by disrupting the healing process. Getting proper sleep improves overall health by helping your body maintain adequate weight, improving heart and brain well-being, and increasing your attention span. As a mesothelioma patient, you should adequately monitor your sleeping schedule and rest regularly while getting seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep.
Avoid sugary food, caffeine, and alcohol as they could become an obstacle, limit screen time and develop bedtime rituals to relax before going to sleep. Take naps to stay fresh, go to bed, and wake up at a set time every day. To ensure that your sleep is peaceful, make certain habits a part of your bedtime routine. Maintain room temperature to what’s comfortable to you. Darken your bedroom and limit access to unnecessary light or noises.
- Avoid Environmental Toxins
As established, the leading cause of mesothelioma in patients is asbestos exposure. Hence, it is essential to avoid any environmental toxins that can trigger cancer cells in the body. These could be alcohol, tobacco smoke, ultraviolet light, ionizing radiation, etc. The patient can find relief from cancer symptoms and alleviate the pain caused by side effects by avoiding them. But most importantly, by staying away from these stressors, you can reduce the risk of cancer recurrence in your body.
Asbestos exposure, especially, could lead to critical conditions for mesothelioma patients, so you should avoid it altogether. Even cigarette contains a certain quantity of asbestos, and hence, you should remove this habit from your life to keep your body healthy.
- Practice Mindfulness
Getting a diagnosis for a disease as severe as mesothelioma can be frightening and could cause an instant rise in anxiety levels. Some patients may start to question their remaining lifespan, while others would wonder if treatment is even going to work. The only thing that could help in this uncertain situation is remaining optimistic.
Practicing mindfulness is an excellent way of becoming self-aware and self-confident, and hence, it is a necessary lifestyle change in this case. You need to become aware of your surroundings – analyze and trust your support system, which could be your friends, family, or support group. Understand that they want to help you, but this might be a challenging situation for them too. Learn to be your friend and explore what you like and where you feel most relaxed and content. Discover your favorite music, movies, and books, or explore your traveling options. Include activities like meditation, yoga, or daily prayers as a part of your routine, and use this time to self-actualize. All of this will strengthen your mental and spiritual health, which will improve your willpower and help you fight the disease.
In conclusion, you need to instill a few essential but relatively easy lifestyle changes in your daily routine to live a healthy post-diagnosis life. Mesothelioma’s leading cause is asbestos exposure, and hence you need to avoid contact with environmental toxins. Work on your sleeping, eating, and exercise routines to stay physically and mentally healthy. Also, remain mindful of controlling stress levels and staying optimistic.