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The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation's team of experts is available to answer your questions about mesothelioma, its symptoms and treatments as well as options available to you. This help is a free service. We are not a law firm. Read more about the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation.

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Nutrition and Mesothelioma

Nutrition Therapy and Support
Nutrition: Surgery, Chemotherapy, Radiation
Treatment Side-Effects and Nutrition
Drug-Food Interactions

Nutrition is the process of eating the types of foods that can be broken down by the body to assist in body growth and new tissue growth. Maintaining a nutritious diet is essential to mesothelioma patients as the body works to fight the cancer. Patients who are well nourished have been known to have a better prognosis.

Mesothelioma patients, in particular, have several challenges to overcome when it comes to nutrition. Sometimes, cancer cells are known to produce chemicals that can change the way that the body uses nutrients. Other times, the body's use of protein, carbohydrates and fat may be physically altered by tumors of the stomach or intestines. In these instances, while a patient may seem to be eating enough, not all nutrients end up absorbed by the body. 

However, more often, nutritional deficiencies are caused by treatment side-effects. Many mesothelioma patients find that it becomes hard to eat when going through treatment. This is usually caused by recovery from surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or immunotherapy. Mesothelioma patients undergoing these types of treatments can experience a loss of appetite (anorexia), mouth sores or dry mouth, trouble swallowing, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, pain, depression, and anxiety. Therefore, it is very easy for a patient to become malnourished, and as a result feel weak and tired.

In some cases, patients whose bodies are unable to absorb adequate nutrients are at risk for developing anorexia (the loss of appetite or desire to eat) or cachexia (a condition marked by loss of appetite, weight loss, muscle loss and general weakness). Nutrition therapy or medicine may be used to help patients unable to keep these conditions at bay.