A cancer diagnosis is often a thing of nightmares, and rightfully so. Battling cancer is truly a life or death fight and unfortunately there is often nothing that can be done to prevent the diagnosis.
Prevention is possible in the case of mesothelioma, a rare cancer with a very low survival rate. Mesothelioma Awareness Day is September 26, the one day a year that this cancer is brought to the forefront.
What is Mesothelioma?
The cancer is caused by the inhalation of microscopic and needle-like asbestos fibers. Once the fibers have entered the body they become lodged in the lining of the organs where the cancer may later develop. Mesothelioma can form in the lining of the heart, abdominal cavity, and lungs. Of all mesothelioma cancer cases, 70 to 90 percent originate in the lining of the lungs. This form of the disease presents respiratory related symptoms that can be mistaken for more common illnesses like asthma.
Each of the three main forms of the cancer manifest with distinct symptoms, which complicate and lengthen the diagnostic process. The rarity of the disease, and variety of symptoms is further complicated by the latency of onset. Asbestos related complications typically take 20 to 50 years to present after initial exposure to the carcinogenic material. Because of its latency period most mesothelioma patients are diagnosed at an advanced age. For men the average age at diagnosis is 75 years old, while the age for women skews a bit younger at 72 years old. The advanced age of mesothelioma patients negatively impacts prognosis.
How Does Exposure Occur?
Due to its cancer-causing properties asbestos has been banned in over 60 countries. Sadly, the United States has yet to completely ban the substance.
Historically, asbestos was used in commercial and industrial purposes as a chemical and fire-resistant additive. Many older homes and buildings were constructed with asbestos containing materials (ACMs). Homes built between between 1930 and 1980 are most likely to harbor asbestos. Insulation, shingles, wallpaper, flooring, and ceiling tiles are among the most common places to find asbestos particles.
In years past, asbestos exposure typically resulted from military service or other high-risk occupations, such as firefighters or construction workers. Today many homeowners are exposed while completing Do-It-Yourself home improvements on their homes built between 1930 and 1980.
How Overall Health Impacts Cancer Prognosis?
Whether battling mesothelioma or another form of cancer there are numerous factors that impact a patient’s prognosis. Stage of disease, location of tumors, and type of cancer cells are all out of a patient’s hand.
Overall health is something that each person can take ownership of and work towards as a preventive measure against cancer. Keeping up with regular doctor visits, being mindful of diet, and exercise regimens will ensure that if push comes to shove, you have the best chances of beating cancer.
Younger and healthy patients have a better prognosis because they are able to withstand more grueling and rigorous treatments. With advanced age, or other health conditions certain treatments options may no longer be viable options.
Benefits of Nutrition for Cancer Patients
Proper nutrition energizes each and every person. For a cancer patient eating may become more of a chore and not a joyous part of their days. When eating becomes arduous it’s important to make the smallest bit of food as impactful as possible.
Cancer patients should ensure their diet features plenty of dark leafy vegetables, think of kale and arugula. Cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, have also been found to inhibit cancer growth. These green super foods have been found especially helpful in preventing breast cancer.
Proper hydration is also key for cancer patients who may be losing water through vomiting or diarrhea.
Whether a cancer patient or just concerned about your future health, it’s wise to speak openly with your doctor about your cancer risk and nutritional intake. It may even behoove you to speak to a nutrition specialist to see where your diet may be lacking in order to mitigate cancer risk in that fashion.
The opinions shared in this article are those of the contributor and not Total Gym Direct.