Mesothelioma is a deadly asbestos cancer usually affecting the lung lining. As a person breathes invisible asbestos particles into the lungs (asbestos lung cancer), they become lodged there. Over time, this can lead to genetic mutations that cause cancer.
Most doctors recommend treatments for mesothelioma that involve surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. In addition to these traditional treatment options, many patients with asbestos cancer may benefit from alternative therapies, including herbs. While these therapies do reduce the tumors or cure the disease, they can help patients control pain and attain a feeling of inner peace during a hard time.
Alternative therapies can be a welcome distraction from regular cancer treatments, hospital visits, medication, and the overall stress associated with a cancer diagnosis.
Some of the following alternative therapies can make dealing with a mesothelioma diagnosis easier:
Herbs and Nutritional Supplements
The medicinal properties of many herbs have been helpful in treating many illnesses. Herbal remedies and nutritional supplements may be used together to give the body useful minerals and vitamins to fight illness and infection. While herbs will not shrink or kill cancer cells, they can help to restore strength and vitality to the body, which can help to fight cancer more effectively. (NIH.gov).
Some herbs that have been found to offer benefits for cancer patients are: (MHS.net)
- Rosemary: This herb contains caffeic acid and rosemarinic acid. They both are rich in antioxidants and can behave as anti-inflammatories that fight cancer cell growth.
- Garlic: Boosts immune system to fight many diseases. Can also slow the growth of cancer cells.
- Turmeric: The active ingredients in this herb have been shown to inhibit some cancer cell growth.
- Flaxseed: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce your cancer risk. (com)
- Saffron: Contains crocins and can slow tumor growth and cancer progression
- Cayenne pepper: Contains beta carotene, which is toxic to cancer cells.
- Cinnamon: A 2010 Korean study showed that cinnamon extract could inhibit the growth and spread of cancer cells in the laboratory.
- Green tea: Contains polyphenols, which have strong anti-cancer properies.
- Oregano: Rich source of antioxidants that can slow growth of cancer and promotes death of harmful cells.
- Black pepper: Contains piperine that has strong antioxidant properties. Research shows that pepper combined with turmeric can inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
- Ginger: Contains gingerol and zingerone that are thought to have anti-inflammatory properties that can be helpful to fight cancer. (com)
Proper nutrition also is important to improve survivability in mesothelioma patients. A recent clinical study by Johns Hopkins and Drexel University found that mesothelioma survivors may not be following the right dietary guidelines to boost life expectancy. (org).
Participants in the study were asked to track their diets for 72 hours. The study found that cancer survivors following the healthies diest were women who did not smoke, were of average weight, and had better access to financial resources.
People suffering from mesothelioma saw benefits from eating diets with many fruits and vegetables, which have antioxidants that fight cancer cell growth. These foods may protect the body from dangerous compounds that can cause genetic damage.
The clinical study further showed that many mesothelioma survivors did not receive nutrition counseling as part of their care. This shortcoming indicates the importance of nutrition education for maintaining good health in mesothelioma survivors.
Many other clinical studies have shown the benefits of good nutrition to prevent cancer. One survivor of peritoneal mesothelioma for 20 years consumes large quantities of supplements and produce, and exercises daily. While regular cancer treatments offer the best results to improve life expectancy, there is no doubt that herbs and nutrition are important factors in long-term survivability and overall health.
Other Types of Alternative Cancer Therapies
Other types of alternative cancer therapies that can help with mesothelioma cancer treatment are:
This type of therapy uses aromatic oils, plants, and herbs combined with massage and baths to relax the cancer patient and improve mood. The release of some herbal fragrances can improve mood, which promotes pain relief and good health.
Breathing techniques can be useful to reduce the feelings of breathlessness that can occur with mesothelioma. These techniques are especially helpful when a mesothelioma patient feels breathless and starts to panic. A physical therapist can teach the mesothelioma patient these relaxing breathing techniques. Sitting by a fan and directing it into the face can reduce the feelings of breathlessness.
Hypnosis is being integrated into mesothelioma treatments more and more. Guided hypnosis sessions can bring positive effects on many patients. Your therapist will speak in a soft voice and help you to relax. The therapist then helps the patient to focus on goals such as stress and pain reduction.
Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation can control pain in some mesothelioma patients. Electrical stimulation is sent through different parts of the body. This stimulation causes relief of pain and boosts the endorphin levels in the body, which makes the patient feel better. This therapy is usually done by a physical therapist.
Massage therapy for cancer patients involves physical manipulation of the soft tissues of the body. Massage can make the patient feel more relaxed, and this leads to pain relief. Some of the effective types of massage include acupressure, Anma, and Balinese. For a mesothelioma patient, massage may reduce muscle tension and make you more relaxed after your traditional cancer treatments.
Meditation helps the cancer patient to enter a deep state of relaxation. It is useful for cancer patients because it helps the patient to deal with the challenges that a mesothelioma diagnosis brings more effectively.
The best way to prevent most cancers is to maintain good health, eat a good diet, and avoid dangerous carcinogens such as asbestos. While there is no silver bullet herb or alternative treatment that will cure cancer, some of the above remedies, including consumption of herbs and healthy foods, can help to keep the disease at bay or prevent it from getting worse. These alternative therapies also can provide comfort, pain, stress relief as you are going through traditional cancer treatments.