Asbestos exposure leads to several medical anomalies among human beings. Asbestos, which is just an umbrella term for some naturally occurring mineral fibers, is used in the construction industry for insulating, fireproofing, and soundproofing buildings. Asbestos can cause various forms of cancer, including mesothelioma. About 80% of mesothelioma patients contracted this rare type of cancer from asbestos exposure. Let’s talk about the average mesothelioma life expectancy and treatment.
Mesothelioma life expectancy
Mesothelioma can occur even several years after asbestos exposure. As per the Mayo Clinic, cancer can develop 20-60 years after inhaling asbestos. So, it’s no wonder roughly two-thirds of mesothelioma patients are 65+!
The inhaled asbestos fibers travel through the lungs and accumulate inside the pleura, where they cause scarring and swelling. Symptoms include coughing, chest pain, and shortness of breath.
But, what is the typical life expectancy of mesothelioma patients? Answering this question involves first describing the three stages of this cancer:
1. Localized: Cancer is restricted to your pleura.
2. Regional: Cancer has spread to nearby nodes and lymph.
3. Distant: Cancer has extended to distant parts of your body.
The American Cancer Society states that 80% of people diagnosed with the localized stage disease survive for five years. Unfortunately, 90% of patients with advanced mesothelioma die within twelve months. As for patients with the regional version, about 12% of them live for numerous years.
Although the 5-year survival rate plummets to 7% among distant cancer patients, you may visit online resources such as Mesothelioma Hope Group for accurate information on this rare disease. These websites will introduce you to treatment options for mesothelioma.
Treatment for mesothelioma
1. Stop smoking and drinking
It seems pretty apparent that you shouldn’t smoke while suffering from lung cancer. There are many rewards of quitting that contribute significantly to the improvement of a cancer patient’s lifestyle.
Your blood pressure will normalize, and your respiratory system will operate effectively. You won’t also be much vulnerable to chronic heart diseases.
Excessively consuming alcohol is a habit you’ll have to give up as well. Getting sober can radically improve your quality of life.
2. Exercise regularly
Doctors often recommend that mesothelioma patients work out regularly to combat this disease. It can be beneficial to even just exercise for around 15 minutes.
Exercise won’t only keep you physically healthy but also mentally relax you. Workouts stimulate the release of endorphins that elevate your mood, so find a type of exercise you find enjoyable.
3. Choose healthy food
It makes sense to stop eating processed food and start consuming more nutritious meals instead. Studies show that cancer patients are vulnerable to malnutrition.
They get irritable, remain exhausted, and suffer from low energy levels. It negatively affects their lifestyle.
So, it will help if you eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Consume only moderate amounts of red meat and avoid eating too many fats. Maintain a healthy protein intake while asking your doctor for nutritional suggestions for your eating plan.
4. Get enough sleep
How much sleep do you need every night? The answer to this question depends on your age.
Since most mesothelioma patients are 65+, the CDC suggests resting for 7-8 hours daily. Cancer may lead to restlessness, so sleeping for an adequate amount of time will keep you well-rested and satisfied.
Getting enough zzzs will sharpen your memory, brighten your mood, and control your weight as well. Try to keep the bedroom as dark as possible and don’t drink coffee or use your smartphone at bedtime as it can interrupt sleep.
5. Get support
A cancer patient must address their mental and physical health and emotional requirements to have a better lifestyle. It involves enlisting professional assistance from counselors or therapists to overcome the trauma of the difficult diagnosis.
Similarly, group therapy allows you to interact with other patients suffering from the same ordeal. So, consider joining a support group to find solace among your friends or family members. Make a healthy cycle of listening to other patients and telling your story.
6. Stress management
A traumatic event, such as a mesothelioma diagnosis, may lead patients to stress. This feeling can cause your mental and physical health to decline drastically.
So, it will help if you find effective ways to manage your stress. Using relaxation exercises such as yoga and meditation can improve the quality of your life.
Don’t forget that stress creates other complications for cancer patients too. So, stress management is in your best interests.
7. Pain reduction
Unfortunately, pain can be part of the mesothelioma experience. Many patients describe the pain as dull and generalized.
They often find it hard to express exactly where the pain is coming from. If it spreads to the bones and joints, that can be a sharp pain.
Aside from drugs that help reduce a mesothelioma patient’s agony, there are natural methods to find relief. They include meditation, massage, acupuncture, music therapy, and other techniques. Also, epidurals and nerve blocks allow patients to manage their pain temporarily.
About mesothelioma life expectancy and treatment
How common is mesothelioma? It’s a rare disease that’s often diagnosed decades after initial exposure. Statistics show that around 3,000 Americans develop this disease every year.
It’s caused by inhaling too much asbestos, after which it resides inside a person’s lungs. On average, mesothelioma patients survive for 15-22 months based on the stage they have. Although this disease constitutes a devastating diagnosis for patients, you can take some proactive actions to improve your well-being, as shown above.
A treatment plan typically includes choosing a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly. Engaging in meditation can provide a welcome relief from the stress too. These methods help to significantly improve your quality of life.