Getting a mesothelioma diagnosis is a traumatic, earth-shattering experience, and it comes as no surprise that many patients respond by shutting down and losing interest in the activities and indulgences that they previously enjoyed. But an Australian study has confirmed what many physicians already suspected: discontinuing eating well and exercising has a direct, negative impact on patient outcomes, while maintaining muscle mass and eating healthy foods can actually prolong life and improve quality of life.
Study followed activity and diet of malignant pleural mesothelioma patients
The study included both men and women who had been diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma to determine whether diet and exercise impacted their quality of life. What they found was that the lower the muscle mass or the level of nutritional health a patient had, the more compromised they were.
The group, researchers from Edith Cowan University and the University of Western Australia, concluded that even in the face of a terminal diagnosis, patients who want to maximize the way they feel need to eat a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables and lean proteins, and to exercise for at least a couple of hours each week
The importance of self care
Working on what they previously knew — that mesothelioma patients who are taking in the most high quality nutrients are more likely to have the longest survival time — the researchers administered DEXA scans to assess each participant’s skeletal muscle mass and asked them questions about their diet. They found that just over half were beginning to experience muscle loss and just over a third were malnourished: both issues impacted their quality of life.
The researchers concluded that maintaining a healthy nutritional profile and exercising at least two-and-a-half hours each week will not only make mesothelioma patients feel better and potentially live longer, but also will reduce the impact of adverse side effects from treatments like chemotherapy.
Mesothelioma patients who need access to the resources that can help you maintain a healthy diet and more active lifestyle, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can help. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.