November 20, 2012 – The standard conventional treatments for mesothelioma, as with other cancers, have included chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. Many patients also participate in clinical trials in which new drugs or treatments, found to be safe and promising, are used on groups of patients to show the benefits of that specific therapy. Other treatment choices have recently gained a lot of attention: the practice of complementary or alternative therapies.
Complementary therapy is used along with standard medical treatments. Alternative therapies are used in place of conventional treatments, despite the fact that they are either unproven through lack of scientific testing or, if tested, lack of sufficient beneficial results; however, many alternative therapies are believed to provide a worthwhile option to unsuccessful conventional treatment plans. These therapy methods are referred to as Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM).
Many cancer centers across the country are now promoting these alternative options and incorporating them into their practices to be used in conjunction with the more traditional forms of treatment. Interestingly, patients are also taking the initiative by increasingly asking to have these nonconventional therapies included in their overall treatment plan.
Complementary and Alternative Therapies Associated with Many Benefits
Complementary and alternative therapies can play a significant role in the treatment of patients suffering from mesothelioma or any other cancer. They can serve several different purposes. They have been shown to help control chronic pain as well as maintain a sense of overall peace and balance. They can also assist patients in dealing with the side effects and symptoms of their treatment. Decreasing stress and anxiety is central to a patient’s emotional health and these therapies have been shown to help. In addition, some of the alternative methods can be utilized as distraction strategies for when patients are undergoing unpleasant or painful procedures.
Other benefits linked to complementary remedies are a patient’s feeling of empowerment and a greater sense of control of his or her own life. This is important during a difficult time when many mesothelioma and cancer patients feel as if their disease has taken over every aspect of their lives. Having a choice to engage in a therapy can make a patient feel like they are an active participant in their treatment and this can have a profound affect of one’s health.
It is important to stress that these complementary or alternative therapies do not cure mesothelioma or other diseases. They are not intended to replace traditional or standard methods of treatment, but rather be used in conjunction with them to help alleviate side effects and symptoms as well as to improve a patient’s overall quality of life.
Study Shows Cancer Centers are Committed to Offering Complementary Therapies to Their Patients
A study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania in 2010 looked at if and how leading cancer centers represented the idea of alternative treatments to their patients. They discovered that 70 percent of full-service cancer facilities provided information about alternative and complementary therapies on their websites. Acupuncture was found to be the most common complementary therapy listed on the sites.
The mesothelioma lawyers at the Shein Law were happy to learn that the majority of cancer institutions in this country are on board with offering cancer patients alternative options to be used alongside with their mainstream therapies such as chemotherapy and radiation. Making patients feel empowered and giving them some choices in regards to their care can help improve their overall mood and general well being. As compassionate partners with these patients, we support these practices.
Examples of Complementary and Alternative Therapies Used by Mesothelioma Patients
A mesothelioma patient should speak with their physician or medical team before starting any type of new treatment. A doctor can determine if incorporating a specific alternative therapy in the treatment plan is in the best interest of the patient’s health. Mesothelioma patients should only use these treatments if they are under the direct care of a physician. Physicians and surgeons who are treating patients with mesothelioma need to be knowledgeable about the complementary remedies that are available to their patients and integrate them into the patient’s care plan if so desired by the patient. There are various therapies that can be offered to mesothelioma patients or other patients suffering from cancer. Here are a few examples of the more common alternative methods used.
This therapy is widely used and accepted in the medical field. It has effectively been used to help patients including those suffering from mesothelioma deal with discomfort or pain as well as with the nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy. In addition, it can decrease an individual’s stress and anxiety levels. This procedure involves inserting extremely fine needles into the skin at specific pressure point locations on an individual’s body.
This complementary method of therapy is thought to improve the quality of life for persons suffering from mesothelioma. During this process, a hypnotherapist induces a trance-like state to help reduce stress and lessen the side effects of cancer treatments such as pain, fatigue and nausea. In addition, hypnotherapy can be utilized prior to surgeries or other procedures that provoke a sense of fear or nervousness. This technique can help minimize these feelings.
This therapy has been around for quite some time and it is utilized by many patients suffering from a wide array of illnesses, including those with mesothelioma. Massage therapy involves the stimulation and manipulation of specific muscles in order to relieve muscle tension. This increases the blood flow to these areas and can help manage pain. Massage therapy can promote a feeling of peacefulness and calmness, thereby reducing a patient’s overall feelings of anxiety and stress.
This process can involve several different elements that are aimed at encouraging a sense of relaxation, calmness and peacefulness within the mind and body of the patient. Patients can utilize deep breathing exercises or repetitive phrases as well as visions of calming scenes to enhance a feeling of relaxation and create a connection with an individual’s inner strengths. This quiet time is a distraction from thinking about the harsh realities of their disease, and has been shown to decrease pain levels and insomnia, as well as depression.
Yoga has recently gained a lot of popularity in the medical community as an adjunct to the more standard therapies. Yoga is intended to promote a sense of relaxation and serenity making one feel a connection between mind and body and it has been recognized that it can be helpful in decreasing pain. Patients engage in a series of movements placing their bodies in specific postures and positions.
Some of the other therapies available to mesothelioma and other cancer patients include pet therapy, music therapy, natural medicines, biofeedback, chiropractic care, homeopathy, art therapy, and aromatherapy. Patients can research these as well as numerous other methods that may prove helpful in improving their overall quality of life.
Shein Law in Philadelphia: Committed Lawyers Helping Mesothelioma Victims and their Families
If you or someone you love is suffering from mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer or any other asbestos-related illness, we encourage you to call the Philadelphia mesothelioma attorneys at the Shein Law. For over 28 years, we have dedicated our practice to helping victims who have fallen ill due to asbestos exposure. Our experienced mesothelioma lawyers can provide you with skilled legal representation and will fight to ensure that you and your family obtain the financial compensation you deserve. We serve clients in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. With offices in Center City Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we are conveniently located for office visits, but will gladly meet you at a location most convenient to you and your family. Call our office today for a free and confidential consultation at 1-800-SHEINLAW (743-4652) or contact us online.