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Alternative or "complementary" treatments are those therapies that fall outside of the realm of what is known as “traditional” treatments. In the case of pleural mesothelioma, they include treatments that are not normally recommended by physicians to treat this type of cancer. However, more and more often, doctors are beginning to recognize the advantages of these therapies and some cancer treatment centers and other hospitals are now offering a number of these alternative therapies onsite.
According to the experts at the Mayo Clinic, there are a number of complimentary treatments that can help relieve the breathlessness that accompanies mesothelioma cancer. While wearing oxygen or taking certain medications can help with shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, patients may want to try what physical therapists describe as “breath training.” This treatment trains the patient to learn techniques that prompt them to draw in as much oxygen as possible while breathing. Not only does this allow the patient to be more comfortable but it also may help avoid hyperventilation, which can lead to fainting and other problems.
Any cancer diagnosis causes stress and pleural mesothelioma is no exception. Most cancer patients report extreme anxiety and difficulty relaxing due to their disease and the need to deal with their diagnosis on a daily basis. While their doctor may prescribe anti-anxiety or depression drugs, there are more natural ways to address stress.
Pain is a problem for most pleural mesothelioma sufferers, and while it can be addressed with medications, some prefer to look for a natural way to relieve pain.
Even though your doctor may not be a fan of complementary medicine, it’s still important to let him/her know that you are going to try something else to help you with pain or stress. Most are very open-minded and eager to allow their pleural mesothelioma patients to try things to make them more comfortable.
Some concerns may arise, however, especially if you plan to take herbs and supplements as part of your alternative therapy program. Some of these substances interfere with chemotherapy drugs or other medications and should not be taken. For example, vitamin C taken in large quantities has been known to interfere with some chemotherapy drugs, so it is best to speak with your doctor before taking any supplements.
In addition, a patient should always let the person administering the alternative therapy know that they have cancer. This may impact the way the treatment is administered and is crucial to the safety and well-being of the patient.
If you would like to speak with a Patient Advocate on potential complimentary therapies that have been known to improve a pleural mesothelioma prognosis, please call 1-800-381-1772 or simply fill out the form on this page to receive an informative packet in the mail. Our Patient Advocates can provide resources on alternative and complimentary therapies, as well as a list of pleural mesothelioma doctors to consult with on the safety of combining traditional and complimentary therapies.