If you have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, the focus of your life must be fighting your disease. At present, there is no cure for mesothelioma, and the prognosis in terms of life expectancy is not good for most patients. However, traditional cancer treatments like chemotherapy can help kill the cancerous cells and slow the progression of your disease.
You can still suffer from pain and other serious side effects from your disease and the treatments that you receive. Alternative and complementary treatments can help you manage your pain, reduce side effects of your disease and treatments, and improve the quality of your life.
What Is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer that affects the lining that covers the lungs, heart, abdomen, and other organs in the body. It is caused by exposure to asbestos, which was much more widespread in the 1960s and 1970s before its cancer-causing properties were recognized. Workers in many industries—including construction, manufacturing, painting, drywall installation, electrical installation, and firefighting—were exposed to asbestos at their jobs. Unfortunately, workers would unintentionally expose their families to asbestos when they brought asbestos home on their clothes.
Asbestos fibers can be easily inhaled when they become airborne or swallowed if they are inhaled, coughed up, and swallowed. These fibers can travel into the lungs and become trapped in the lining, known as the pleura, and travel to other vital organs. Pleural mesothelioma affects the lining of the lungs and chest cavity, and the majority of patients have this type of mesothelioma. Peritoneal mesothelioma is the second most common type of this cancer that starts in the abdomen lining. Pericardial mesothelioma is a rarer form of this disease that attacks the lining surrounding the heart.
Traditional Mesothelioma Treatments
Unfortunately, it can take 20 to 50 years before the symptoms of mesothelioma develop enough for a diagnosis to be made. In many cases, the cancer has already spread before it is diagnosed, which can limit treatment options. However, there are a number of traditional treatments that can slow the progression of the disease, and often a combination of treatments are utilized. These include the following:
- Surgery to remove as much as possible of the cancer cells.
- Chemotherapy to kill the cancer cells.
- Radiation to shrink the size of tumors, kill cancer cells, and relieve the symptoms of mesothelioma.
Complementary and Alternative Treatments for Mesothelioma
Complementary and alternative treatments refer to products and treatments that are not part of mainstream medical therapy but have been found useful to help control the pain, symptoms, and side-effects of mesothelioma and its treatments. These alternative types of care are not a cure for the cancer and should be used in conjunction with traditional treatments for mesothelioma. However, they can be important to your overall health and quality of life, so you should take advantage of ones that seem to work for you.
Some treatments that could help you include:
- Acupuncture. This treatment involves the placement of needles into the skin at various pressure points and has been found to help relieve the pain caused by mesothelioma.
- Aromatherapy. Aromatherapy utilizes aromatic oils, plants, and other substances that are inhaled or released into the air. This therapy is often utilized with massage or baths to help patients relax and manage their pain.
- Craniosacral therapy. Light touches to the brain, spine, and pelvis can help release tension and improve range of movement. Craniosacral therapy can help mesothelioma patients to reduce their pain and other side effects of their medical treatments.
- Therapeutic touch therapy. With this therapy, a practitioner passes his hands two to four inches over the person’s entire body to feel for energy imbalances without actually touching the person’s body. This treatment can reduce stress, improve sleep, relax muscles, and alleviate pain.
- Homeopathy. Homeopathy uses pills or tinctures that contain small amounts of an active ingredient, such as a plant or mineral, to treat the symptoms of a disease. While it will not cure or treat mesothelioma, it can help with pain and the side effects of chemotherapy and other cancer treatments.
- Massage. Massage therapy can be both relaxing and pain-relieving, which are both helpful when patients are going through treatments for their mesothelioma.
- Meditation. Meditation is the process of going into deep relaxation and can help patients to remain calm so they can make better choices regarding their treatment and to cope with their cancer diagnosis.
- Cannabis. While it has not been proven that marijuana builds the immune system or kills cancer cells, it can help a patient relax and alleviate the pain of the disease and the symptoms of chemotherapy and other cancer treatments.
Many mesothelioma patients use these and other alternative therapies as part of their cancer treatment program. It is important to research alternative therapies before using them to be certain that they will be helpful and not harmful to the progression of your disease. You also want to discuss them with your physician before beginning an alternative therapy.
Let Us Help You Fight for the Compensation That You Deserve
Alternative therapies—as well as traditional treatments for mesothelioma—can be very expensive but vital to your medical care and quality of life. You may be entitled to compensation for these treatments from your employer or another negligent party who was responsible for your exposure to mesothelioma. In addition to your medical expenses, you may be eligible to recoup lost wages and be compensated for the pain and suffering you endure. However, you will need the assistance of an experienced mesothelioma attorney prove your employer’s or other party’s liability and your right to compensation.
Let our experienced attorneys at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault fight for the justice you deserve. We handle these cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that you do not owe us any fees until we settle your case or win your case at trial. Our fee is based on a percentage of your settlement, so you will not owe any fees up front. To learn more about your legal options, call our office to schedule a free consultation.