Friday, July 17, 2009

Alternative & Complementary Treatments for Mesothelioma

This article is provided by guest blogger Richard Moyle of The Mesothelioma Center, dedicated to providing information and resources about Mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos exposure.

While many advocates of conventional medicine are still skeptical over the effectiveness of alternative medical treatments, the use of complementary and alternative treatments is becoming more and more accepted. Those who suffer from asbestos-related illnesses like asbestosis or mesothelioma are beginning to discover that many alternative treatments can alleviate the pain and other side effects that conventional treatments can sometimes cause.

Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer that is primarily caused by exposure to a substance called asbestos. The symptoms of this type of cancer can lay dormant for anywhere from 20 to 50 years after initial exposure to asbestos. Because of this, the cancer is typically diagnosed in its later stages when treatment options are more limited. The typical mesothelioma survival rate is about one year after diagnosis.

There are a number of alternative and complementary treatments that can (at the very least) ease the pain and other symptoms of the disease, as well as the sometimes negative side effects that come with conventional cancer treatments like chemotherapy. Acupuncture, for example, can provide relief from chronic pain, inflammation, anxiety, and stress and it is one of the most widely-accepted alternative therapies in use today. In fact, acupuncture has become so widely accepted that some health insurance companies actually cover it.

Meditation has also been known as a great way to reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. Currently, there is also evidence that meditation can help manage pain and other disease symptoms. Many people with cancer who include meditation in their treatment program find the practice helps relieve pain, stress, and anxiety. Some studies have even shown that meditation may be able to slow tumor growth and improve patient prognosis.

Dietary supplements like vitamins, minerals, herbs, and amino acids can also be a big help for those who suffer from asbestos-related diseases. Vitamins, minerals, and amino acids are all required by the body to perform essential life functions, and supplements can help provide needed chemicals when diet alone cannot. Many herbs can be useful in treating diseases and conditions, as well as provide symptomatic relief. For example, flaxseed, ginseng, and garlic are all known to reduce blood pressure.

While all these types of alternative and complementary treatments may be helpful to sufferers of mesothelioma and asbestosis, it is always important that you discuss any new treatments with your doctor before proceeding. Especially in the case of dietary supplements, as some of them may react badly with prescription medications. 

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