Mesothelioma is a horrible cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos was used widely in New Zealand in the 1960’s and 70’s – the home I grew up in had a lovely asbestos ceiling! Between 1992 – 2005 there were 164 cases of mesothelioma in New Zealand, and the number of cases is increasing. A large number of the people who contracted this disease were tradesmen such as builders, plumbers and electricians.
Although the main cause of mesothelioma is asbestos, not poor diet, it always helps to eat healthy food. Here’s a story from the US Mesothelioma Centre, that they have asked me to post, on how healthy eating can help people with mesothelioma:
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The main cause of mesothelioma cancer is exposure to a naturally occurring mineral called asbestos. The cancer develops in the mesothelial cells that make up the lining of the lungs, heart and abdomen. Like many types of cancer, it is most treatable when caught early. The symptoms of mesothelioma can take anywhere from 20 to 50 years to become obvious and by the time the cancer is diagnosed, it is typically in advanced stages making it more difficult to treat.
It has been confirmed by the National Cancer Institute that at least 35 percent of all cancer cases are linked to poor nutrition. And while malignant mesothelioma is not a cancer that is related to poor nutrition, improving nutritional intake can help strengthen mesothelioma cancer patients’ bodies to fight the progressive disease.
Eating a balanced and healthy diet is vital to help fight cancer. A more balanced and healthy diet can not only improve chances of survival, but also alleviate painful symptoms and unwanted treatment side effects.
Garlic can be helpful for mesothelioma patients as it produces a chemical called allicin. Garlic seems to have the greatest affect on stomach cancer and prostate cancer in men, but affects have been noted in all types of cancer and on different carcinogens. Animal trials have been completed with positive effects. In one such study, a number of mice with cancer were injected with allicin. The control group (those not injected with the compound) lived an average of two months, while those receiving the injection lived an average of six months or longer.
Fruit is also a definite must. There are many delicious types of berries you can incorporate into your diet to benefit from the cancer-fighting nutrients they contain, including blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, loganberries, cranberries. Berries contain a number of cancer-fighting phytonutrients like anthocyanins, ellagic acid, pterostilbene and resveratrol. In one study, extracts of six types of berries were tested for their ability to prevent the growth and spread of different types of cancer cells. Amazingly, each different type of berry was found to have an entirely unique combination of phytonutrients, and all six varieties of berry extract were able to kill cancer cells in the laboratory.
One of the most common side effects of mesothelioma treatment is nausea. There are a number of dietary changes you can make to help this problem. Dry grain products like crackers and toast can help calm an upset stomach. Bland foods will also help with nausea, as well as acid reflux problems.
Low white blood cell count is another common trait found in cancer patients, which raises the risk of contracting an infection. To avoid this side effect, a number of changes can be made in the foods you eat. It is most important to avoid “bad” bacteria, which is common in foods that are spoiled or not prepared well. Avoid buffets when eating out, wash your hands before preparing meals, avoid raw meats and fish (like sushi), and throw away any foods that are bruised or damaged.
Cancer is a complex medical condition, with many factors playing various roles in development and treatment. However, most patients will undoubtedly benefit from good nutrition in a number of ways.