Diet for Peritoneal Mesothelioma Patients

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, there's a lot of new material coming your way to master about the condition, treatments and recovery. Healthy eating is also a new learning curve for people with mesothelioma. The way you eat while you are dealing with this condition can help you handle its symptoms and the side effects of whatever treatment option you select. The most important step on the nutrition learning curve is to temporarily set aside all you've been told about healthy eating until you are well on your way to recovery. How you need to eat while you have mesothelioma is something of a "new normal."

If You Have Just Been Diagnosed

Most likely, by the time you have seen a mesothelioma specialist and are considering treatment options, you've already experienced some degree of weight loss. It's important in the early days to try to reverse any weight loss and to get your energy and immune system back to the levels they need to be at to promote healing and fight infection.

Often, it's as simple as not having enough calories in your diet and not eating enough protein. Calories will help add weight and protein will increase energy levels. Focusing on a low fat, low sugar diet with lots of fruits and vegetables is not usually recommended for mesothelioma patients. Instead, your doctor or oncology dietitian may advise you to emphasize high fat, calorie-dense foods containing protein like milk, eggs, cream and cheese. Think of using more butter or adding sauces and gravies to your meals. It does'nt mean you should'nt eat any fruits or vegetables, they should still be part of your diet, but the emphasis needs to shift to filling up on high calorie foods. The time before you begin treatment is the time to build up your strength so your body has some reserves if they are needed.

If You Have Started Treatment

Some of the treatments for mesothelioma, such as chemotherapy, radiation or surgery, may cause side effects that affect your eating. Not everyone experiences those side effects but it is likely you will experience some days that are more difficult than others. Since the most common side effects are nausea and diarrhea, it might be harder to get all the nutrients you need during treatment.

A simple rule is to eat when you feel like it. Grazing throughout the day on several small meals may be a better idea than trying to eat three large ones. Stick with foods that you really enjoy and that are both high in protein and calories so you get the most from the food you do eat. Shakes are a good option and liquid meal replacements may help. Foods that are easy to digest, like hot cereals, custards or lean meat, are good choices during treatment.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, please contact us and we will be able to help.