Treatment for malignant mesothelioma depends upon the patient’s specific condition as well as their personal goals. In most cases they are offered a combination of chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapy that together extend survival and minimize discomfort and pain. Despite the availability of rehabilitation following these treatments, only a small percentage of patients are offered this valuable protocol.
Mesothelioma Treatments Can Lead to Physical or Cognitive Deficits
It is common for cancer treatments such as those used in treating malignant mesothelioma to lead to cognitive or physical deficits. These can include post-operative pain, depression, confusion, and even dementia. Though physical and occupational therapies exist to offset these effects and return patients to better function and quality of life, oncologists rarely refer patients for rehabilitative services.
Writing in the online journal Cancer Therapy Advisor, Andrea S. Blevins Primeau, PhD, MBA explains that pain and fatigue and other after-effects of cancers like mesothelioma and their treatment can have a significant impact on patients’ enjoyment of life and ability to engage in activities in which they once participated. She says that rehabilitation can help patients return to their previous level of function and quality of life.
Stress, Physical Function and More Can be Improved with Rehabilitation
Though exercise and occupational therapy are infrequently incorporated in mesothelioma patients’ treatment, studies have shown that they can improve many of the aftereffects of the aggressive interventions that are commonly used. When therapists are included in the multidisciplinary care team and engage with patients before, during and after treatment, patients benefit and are better able to return to their previous levels of function. With fewer than ten percent of cancer patients referred to rehabilitation, it is clear that better integration of rehabilitation services and increased awareness of its benefits in oncology care can provide a significant improvement in mesothelioma patients’ quality of life.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and you need more information on the various services available to you, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can help. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.