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Alternative Mesothelioma Treatments

Alternative treatments for mesothelioma are used to supplement the traditional methods of treatment. Even though science does not subscribe to such methods, the effects of these totally different types of treatment are claimed to be beneficial.
HolisticZine Staff
For all practical reasons it is said that there is no cancer as deadly and devastating as 'Mesothelioma'. Once diagnosed, it proves to be fatal within 12 to 18 months.

Mesothelioma has possibly existed for a very long time, but it is now that the number of those suffering from it is on a steep rise. This trend of people being diagnosed with mesothelioma could continue for a further 30 to 50 years, maybe even more. Reason for this is that mesothelioma is usually diagnosed 30 to 40 years after initial 'asbestos inhalation' (asbestos inhalation is the prime cause of mesothelioma). Even though banned in the 80s, asbestos was still in use till the 90s. Products that contained asbestos till the 90s are asbestos free today; but this does not mean that we are living in an asbestos free environment. The effects of all the asbestos used till the 90s is still felt today. Any construction built from the early 1900s to the 80s contain toxic levels of asbestos in their flooring, roofing, and insulation; all of which could easily pollute the air with invisible asbestos fibers while renovating without taking all safety precautions.

Conventional Treatments
Almost every patient diagnosed with mesothelioma in the past decade have had a very limited choice, as far as treatment was concerned. These treatments depended on the stage of cancer, the age and overall health of the patient, and included one or more of the following treatments.
  • Surgery
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Combination Therapy
New Treatment Methods
Over the years of treating mesothelioma, surgeons have realized that the conventional treatment methods for mesothelioma were not very effective in treating the cancer with a low success rate and survival time.

Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy was one option in the conventional type of treatment. Today several different types of chemotherapy are undergoing trials. Some trials are abandoned due to a lack in cancer improvement and the side-effects, but there are many new variations of chemotherapy that are showing good results with fewer and more manageable side-effects.

Photodynamic Therapy
Photodynamic therapy is another new mesothelioma treatment that is undergoing trial. This therapy is based on the power of light to destroy the cancer cells. A photosensitive drug is injected into the patients body and a laser of specific frequency used to stimulate the photosensitive drug. This laser will detect and kill only the active cancer cells when it reacts with the photosensitive drug.

Immunotherapy
Immunotherapy is a recent therapy that makes use of the patients own immune system to create a self-defense mechanism against the cancer. The theory here is that the immune system can differentiate between normal healthy cells and cancerous cells, and will naturally destroy the cancer cells. This new therapy is based on a substance known as BRM (biological response modifiers) which is naturally present in the human body. Today BRM can also be created in a laboratory. Trials for this therapy are underway and the current results are good, making it a possible solution for mesothelioma in the near future.

Gene Therapy
Gene Therapy/Replacement Gene Therapy is another new therapy undergoing trial. In this therapy abnormal genes that are responsible for the growth and spread of the cancer are replaced by normal healthy genes. In this therapy the cancer is treated at the DNA level. Once healthy genes replace the abnormal genes, it helps stop any further growth and spread of the cancer.

Alternative Treatments
Acupuncture
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese remedy used for curing many ailments. Sterile acupuncture needles are placed on specific energy points on the skin to release positive energy to diseased parts of the body, helping restore a perfect balance in the body. It is a technique that is very helpful in relieving pain associated with mesothelioma.

Herbs
As with acupuncture, treatment with herbs too has its origins in China. Traditional Chinese doctors have an assortment of herbs that will cure/reduce the intensity of various ailments. These herbs are used in addition to conventional mesothelioma treatment.

Massage
Massages are known to increase blood circulation and relieve body stress. Massages are not used for curing mesothelioma, but for stress and pain relief during/after conventional treatments used.

Meditation
Meditation techniques are centuries old and practiced worldwide for various spiritual reasons. It is one of the best ways known to relax the mind and body. Various breathing techniques are also included to help a person feel better. If done with proper guidance it can de-stress the mesothelioma patient and help control pain. Meditation is also claimed to strengthen the immune system. The advantages of meditation are many. Meditation can be performed by the patient in the comforting confines of home. At a time when alternative therapies cost a lot monetarily, meditation once learned will not cost anything. Unlike most medication, meditation does not have any negative side-effects.

Apart from the above mentioned techniques, homeopathy, a specialized diet, spiritual healing and visual/guided imagery are also included in the alternative mesothelioma treatments.

Don't Stop the Conventional Treatment
Many of those practicing alternative mesothelioma treatments will make you believe that they can cure you of the dreaded cancer without the need for conventional treatment. Most of these claims are not true and could end in disaster, since time is of essence in any mesothelioma treatment.

Even though not proven scientifically (which will never happen), many alternative treatments (most of which are based on spirituality) have proved to be beneficial when combined with conventional treatment. Whenever you decide to opt for an alternative treatment, try to locate and speak to someone who has undergone the specific treatment. Also speak to the physician/surgeon treating you and let them know of your alternative treatment choice.

As of today, mesothelioma is not curable using conventional methods such as surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or combination therapy. Keeping this fact in mind, and also the fact that most alternative treatments for mesothelioma do not have any negative side-effects, it is a good option to combine conventional treatment with an alternative treatment to help fight mesothelioma.

Alternative treatments for mesothelioma could cost a lot. Before opting for a particular type of alternative treatment, find out if insurance will cover this treatment. If it does, good. If not, go for alternative treatments such as meditation, yoga, or specialized breathing techniques that once learned will help you get better, and at the same time not burden you financially.