National Men’s Health Week tips can help patients stay healthier before, during, and after mesothelioma treatment. Mesothelioma occurs in men 4 times more often than women. Researchers believe men develop mesothelioma more often because occupational asbestos exposure typically happens in male-dominated industries.
Men’s Health Week takes place each year on the week leading up to Father’s Day. This year it takes place June 12th-18th. Staying healthy can help a patient’s body fight cancer, stay strong during treatment, and heal afterward.
6 Health Tips for Men With Mesothelioma
In honor of Men’s Health Week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) compiled a list of health tips for men. The tips below are adapted from their list. Read the tips and learn how each is relevant to mesothelioma patients.
- 1Sleep Well
Cancer patients are twice as likely to experience insomnia as people without cancer. Top mesothelioma specialist, Dr. David Sugarbaker stresses to his patients (and their loved ones) how important getting a good night’s sleep is. A good night of sleep helps patients have the energy to fight their cancer. Sleep is also very important for mesothelioma patients’ caretakers who often forget to take care of themselves.
- 2Quit Smoking
Quitting smoking improves a patient’s health immediately and also over time. Smoking also puts patients at risk of developing other health issues such as heart disease. Mesothelioma is not directly caused by smoking but smoking is not beneficial to patients. Mesothelioma patients often struggle to maintain healthy lung function, smoking can exacerbate their breathing problems.
- 3Exercise More
Exercise is an important part of staying healthy but mesothelioma patients may have difficulty with some exercises. Patients should consult their doctor about how much they should exercise and in which ways. Caretakers should also remember to exercise and stay healthy. Healthy adults should aim for 2 and a half hours of exercise per week.
- 4Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating well can help patients stay healthy. Dr. Sugarbaker and his staff dietician recommend a diet high in protein and low in sugars before and after mesothelioma surgery. After recovery from surgery, patients should research anti-cancer diets. A healthy diet for mesothelioma patients includes plenty of starches, vegetables, fruits, and proteins. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables each day can help patients avoid other chronic diseases because they are full of important vitamins and minerals.
- 5Reduce Stress
Stress is natural but needs to be maintained and minimized. Cancer patients are often stressed because of their diagnosis. Finding support from family, friends, and other patients can help reduce stress. A positive attitude can help patients persevere through treatments. Other tips on this list, such as sleeping well and exercising more, can help reduce stress.
- 6Keep Track of Your Health
Pay attention and alert your doctor or nurse if you have any unusual symptoms. Examples include chest pain, shortness of breath, excessive thirst, and problems with urination. Some cancer treatments can weaken your immune system. Diseases that are somewhat harmless to healthy people, such as the flu, could be a serious issue for mesothelioma patients. Make sure your vaccinations are up to date.
If your father or other loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, be sure to share these tips with him. Staying healthy with mesothelioma can be difficult but patients can take small steps toward their health goals.
Encourage the father figures in your life to stay healthy. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help patients live longer, recover from mesothelioma treatments more easily, and improve their prognosis.
Celebrating Father’s Day With Mesothelioma
Father’s Day can be difficult for families dealing with mesothelioma. Since mesothelioma affects mostly men, there are many fathers dealing with this cancer while trying to celebrate with family. Patients can use this holiday as an excuse to spend quality time with loved ones.
Children and loved ones can help by showing their father figures extra support on Father’s Day. Visiting a mesothelioma patient could help raise their spirits and help them deal with symptoms and treatments. If distance is a problem, loved ones can sends cards, snacks, or care packages to fathers dealing with mesothelioma. A simple call or text can also show love and appreciation.
Loved ones who have lost a father figure to mesothelioma may have an especially tough time this holiday. Thousands of fathers, grandfathers, husbands, and brothers have been lost through the years to this devastating disease. Father’s Day may be a good day to reach out to those who are struggling with their loss.
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- National Men’s Health Week. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/men/nmhw/index.htm. Accessed: 6/12/17.
- Mesothelioma: Statistics. Cancer.Net. Retrieved from: http://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/mesothelioma/statistics. Accessed: 6/12/17.
- Addressing sleep problems in cancer patients. Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Retrieved from: http://www.cancercenter.com/community/newsletter/article/addressing-sleep-problems-in-cancer-patients/. Accessed: 6/12/17.
- Maureen Keane, M.S., and Daniella Chace, M.S. (2007). What To Eat If You Have Cancer. New York. McGraw-Hill.
- Interview Conducted with Baylor Mesothelioma Treatment Center Support Staff. Mesothelioma Guide. Accessed: 3/30/17.