Mesothelioma treatments, pain, and pain medications can impact a patient’s appetite or ability to eat. Stress over managing this disease and the lifestyle changes that comes with it can also decrease one’s appetite. The following are just a few examples of how mesothelioma can affect patient nutrition.

Mesothelioma Nutrition

Treatments such as chemotherapy, a drug used to kill cancer cells, can also affect a patient’s healthy cells. This drug can cause loss of appetite, nausea and other side effects. Many patients find it especially difficult to eat before and after treatments because the chemotherapy affects their sense of taste. One common complaint is that food tastes “metallic.” Others find food completely taste-less.

Radiation therapy, used to shrink cancerous tumors or manage their excessive growth, can also cause loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting. One common complaint is that very flavorful, high moisture content foods tend to maximize these side effects.

Due to patients’ loss of appetite and related side effects from mesothelioma treatments like chemotherapy and radiation, many mesothelioma specialists recommend patients begin a proper mesothelioma nutrition plan. Your specialist may recommend that you work with a dietitian or nutritionist to create the right nutrition plan for your needs before, during and after mesothelioma treatments. For many, the goals of nutritional care during cancer treatment include:

  • Prevent or restore nutritional deficiencies
  • Reduce risk of infection
  • Boost energy and stamina
  • Maintain healthy weight
  • Minimize nutrition-related side effects
  • Maximize quality of life

Recommended eating habits for mesothelioma patients can be very different from normal healthy eating guidelines, so it’s important to educate yourself on mesothelioma nutrition and ask your oncologist or nutritionist the appropriate questions.

Because cancer treatments may affect the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food, eating the recommended amount of calories and getting enough protein are especially important for mesothelioma patients. Calories and protein are essential for maintaining body weight, boosting strength and energy levels, healing and fighting infection.

More specifically, protein helps to boost the immune system and rebuild body tissues damaged by mesothelioma. However, some patients with kidney disease may not be able to tolerate a high-protein diet so it is important to check with your doctor and nutritionist about your protein intake.

Side effects from mesothelioma can be minimized in well-nourished, healthy patients, so don’t hesitate to start asking questions about a mesothelioma diet and nutrition plan fit for you. To learn more about mesothelioma treatments and treatment centers that can provide you with appropriate information, visit the Mesothelioma Information section of our website.