The Importance of Exercise for Mesothelioma Patients
Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that is caused almost exclusively by exposure to asbestos. It can affect the thin, protective membrane surrounding the lungs, heart or abdominal cavity. There are four main types of mesothelioma cancer and they include pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma, pericardial mesothelioma, and testicular mesothelioma. The most common type affects your lungs, causing shortness of breath, painful and frequent coughing, chest pain, weight loss and lumps of tissue under the skin. However, exercise can help reduce some of these symptoms.
While there is no definitive cure for mesothelioma, there are treatment options and implementing lifestyle changes such as routine exercise is a known factor that has prolonged life expectancy in some mesothelioma patients. In fact, a number of mesothelioma patients have survived five years or longer because of their treatment, exercise and nutritional regimens.
The benefits of physical exercise are clear, and years of research provide the scientific evidence. Regular activity controls weight, fights disease, improves mood, boosts energy, provides fun, promotes sleep and sparks sexual activity. These benefits are available to mesothelioma patients in addition to reduction of some symptoms or side effects like depression or anxiety.
Weather you experience weakness from common symptoms of mesothelioma or from cancer treatments, muscle loss and stiff joints may be a large part of your daily life. Even a small amount of exercising such as standing and stretching for 10 minutes a day or taking a short walk can help prevent these discomforts.
Many mesothelioma patients undergo chemotherapy because it is used to kill cancerous cells, but it does not come without side effects. Chemotherapy often causes nausea and loss of appetite. Regular exercise can help your appetite bounce back because your body uses the energy your body takes in from food to exercise and therefor has to replenish the energy to perform daily functions. That is when your body will signal your brain that you need to eat something, producing hunger sensations that trigger you to eat.
Although mesothelioma patients may be unable to exercise for long periods of time, they can benefit from gentle movements and physical therapy. Physical therapy involves the treatment, healing and prevention of injuries or disabilities. Exercises commonly used in physical therapy may help mesothelioma patients gain their strength and stamina back and minimize their pain.
While exercise cannot cure mesothelioma cancer, it helps patients cope with the myriad of symptoms and side effects of cancer treatment. Many patients say it gives them strength, energy and confidence to fight their disease and move beyond it.
Author bio: Kaitlyn Teabo is a writer for The Mesothelioma Center. She combines her interests in writing, cancer research and emerging scientific technology to educate the mesothelioma community about asbestos and its related diseases.
Haas, David. (2012, Mar. 20). Exercise – A “Wonder Drug” for Cancer Patients. Retrieved from http://fitnessnutritiondenverboulder.com/exercise-a-wonder-drug-for-cancer-patients/
Nelson, Rachel. (2011, Feb. 20). How exercise can help mesothelioma patients. Retrieved from http://www.livestrong.com/article/386851-how-exercise-can-help-mesothelioma-patients/