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When an individual is diagnosed with mesothelioma there are a lot of uncertainty. It is a very overwhelming and life altering diagnosis. There are many decisions to be made regarding treatment plans and next steps. Something that is very important to an individuals overall health is their nutrition. Nutrition can sometimes take a back burner to all the other decisions being made; however, it is a very important part of the treatment management process.
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Maintaining healthy nutritional meals are imperative in those who have been diagnosed with malignancies. When an individual is diagnosed with cancer, they may be cachectic. Cachectic basically means that a lot of weight has been lost in a short period of time. These individuals who have lost a lot of weight, may even become malnourished. Being malnourished at any stage in life can be detrimental to one's health; so it is easy to make the assumption that being malnourished while having cancer can be deadly. Therefore, it is essential to determine the most appropriate nutrition plan.
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Once a diagnosis of mesothelioma has been determined, a treatment plan should be established. During this time, the patient will be meeting with the physicians collaborating on his specific case. Physicians consulted will include: Medical Oncologist, Radiation Oncologist, and Surgeon. Other healthcare professionals that can be consulted on the patient's particular case include: psychologist and nutritionist or registered dietician. Each of these professionals have a very important role in treating the patient.
Non-Restricted Regular Diet
At each stage of the treatment there will be different nutritional requirements. To begin, as long as the patient is able to consume a normal diet without restrictions then the food pyramid should be used as the guideline for nutritional requirements. Incorporation of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vegetables, vitamins and minerals, and water should be included in each meal. Fats should be used sparingly of course. Protein is very important. In addition to its normal benefits, this protein is thought to help repair body tissues. The carbohydrates provide energy and are the fuel for the body. The physician will encourage the patient to meet with the nutritionist or registered dietician to develop an individualized meal plan regimen for each day. These guidelines are for a non-restricted regular diet.
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Nutritional Plan Based On Treatment Modality
If during treatment special diets must be implemented, a new nutritional meal plan will be developed. For instance, if the patient is undergoing radiation therapy of the peritoneum it will become quite difficult to consume food when the abdominal cavity is being radiated. In these instances a gastrointestinal tube may be inserted and caloric consumption may be received through the actual gastrointestinal tube. If surgery is the treatment option, then there are specific restrictions that must be followed before and after the surgery as it pertains to an individual's diet. With chemotherapy, there are certain foods that can be eaten and certain foods that must be avoided; so it is imperative to speak with your physician about developing an appropriate nutritional meal plan.
If the patient becomes cachectic and needs more caloric intake that is being received, additional nutritional supplements may be required. High calorie foods would then be recommended. Supplements such as Ensure mixed with ice cream can offer calories that will provide nutritional support.
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An appropriate nutritional plan must be developed by your physician in collaboration with a registered dietician. It is imperative that the appropriate diet be implemented at the appropriate stage of treatment. Nutrition is imperative to fighting cancer; therefore, speak with your healthcare provider about how to proceed with an appropriate nutrition plan.