March is National Nutrition Month, so it’s a good time to talk about the importance of healthy eating for patients diagnosed with malignant pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma.
When a patient is diagnosed with mesothelioma, the focus of medical attention goes to treatment, but sometimes falls short when it comes to nutritional counseling. The majority of discussions surround options such as surgery, medication, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and other emerging treatments.
This is a shame, as good nutrition can go a long way towards helping patients to retain strength and vigor, and improve their quality of life during these challenging treatments.
Mesothelioma patients who are fortunate enough to be getting their treatment at major medical centers often spend time with a registered dietitian who will provide them with a customized nutritional plan, but there is plenty of information available online to help you take control of your own healthy eating needs.
Paying attention to what you eat during mesothelioma treatment will help you maintain your body weight, keep your tissues healthy, and even help to decrease the side effects that frequently occur with treatment.
Mesothelioma patients can see numerous nutritional impacts as a result of their illness and the treatments they are undergoing. Problems and nutritional solutions include:
- Anorexia – Eating foods that are high in protein and calories and drinks that are high in nutrients
- Nausea – Choosing foods that are appealing, but don’t force yourself to eat. Focus on foods that are bland, soft, easy to digest. Eat dry foods like crackers. Drink liquids at room temperature and sip liquids through the day.
- Vomiting – Don’t eat or drink until the vomiting stops; drink small sips of clear liquids after vomiting stops. Stick to strained soups and milkshakes, and eat 5 or 6 small meals a day instead of large meals.
- Dry Mouth – Eat foods that are easy to swallow, and moist; chew gum, suck on hard candy, sip water through the day.
- Mouth Sores – Eat soft foods; suck on ice chips; cut food into small pieces or blend them; don’t eat hot foods; drink with a straw; stay away from citrus, acidic foods and spicy foods.
Mesothelioma patients have to deal with changes in almost every aspect of their life, and it’s easy to forget about nutrition. Take the time to learn how to take care of yourself. If you need more information, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net to learn more.
We can be reached at 1-800-692-8608.