Pleural mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs. It is typically caused by exposure to asbestos, and unfortunately, it is often diagnosed at an advanced stage when treatment options are limited. Palliative care is an important part of the treatment plan for patients with pleural mesothelioma, as it can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. In this article, we will discuss some of the palliative care techniques that can be used to help patients with pleural mesothelioma.
Pain is a common symptom of pleural mesothelioma, and it can be caused by the cancer itself, as well as by treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Pain management is an important part of palliative care for patients with pleural mesothelioma. There are several different medications that can be used to manage pain, including opioids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and corticosteroids. In addition to medication, other techniques such as massage, acupuncture, and relaxation therapy may also be helpful in managing pain.
Shortness of Breath:
Shortness of breath is another common symptom of pleural mesothelioma, and it can be caused by the buildup of fluid in the lungs or by the cancer itself. Oxygen therapy can be used to help patients with shortness of breath, and in some cases, a procedure called thoracentesis may be performed to remove fluid from the lungs. Breathing exercises, such as pursed lip breathing and diaphragmatic breathing, can also be helpful in managing shortness of breath.
Fatigue is a common symptom of cancer, and it can be particularly challenging for patients with pleural mesothelioma. Rest and relaxation are important for managing fatigue, and patients may also benefit from gentle exercise such as walking or yoga. Nutritional counseling can also be helpful in managing fatigue, as a balanced diet can help provide the energy needed to manage daily activities.
Nausea and Vomiting:
Nausea and vomiting are common side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and they can also be caused by the cancer itself. Anti-nausea medications can be used to manage these symptoms, and dietary changes such as eating smaller, more frequent meals may also be helpful. Acupuncture and relaxation therapy may also be helpful in managing nausea and vomiting.
Depression and Anxiety:
A cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming, and many patients with pleural mesothelioma experience depression and anxiety. Counseling and support groups can be helpful in managing these symptoms, and medications may also be prescribed to help manage depression and anxiety.
In addition to the techniques mentioned above, there are many other palliative care techniques that can be used to help patients with pleural mesothelioma. The goal of palliative care is to provide comfort and improve quality of life, and each patient’s care plan should be tailored to their individual needs and preferences. It is important for patients with pleural mesothelioma to work closely with their healthcare team to develop a comprehensive treatment plan that includes palliative care.