Type: Peritoneal Mesothelioma
Survival: 19 years
Paul is perhaps the most internationally well-known mesothelioma patient. He took an unusual approach when it came to his treatment, yet he is the longest surviving patient.
The Longest Living Mesothelioma Survivor
Paul Kraus is well known for being the longest living mesothelioma survivor in the world. With the guidance of his physicians, Paul decided to take a holistic approach to his disease. His experience is remarkable and has led to him being a source of both inspiration and medical curiosity.
When Paul was diagnosed, there were no standard treatments available for mesothelioma patients. He was told to prepare his affairs for what his doctors considered an inevitably short amount of time left. But Paul refused to accept his prognosis as something out of his control.
Over 17 years later, it’s obvious this mindset was the foundation for doing what was thought to be impossible — beating mesothelioma.
Getting Diagnosed in 1997
When Paul was 52, he went to the doctor for a hernia. It was perceived as a relatively minor issue, and he was referred to a surgeon. However, during the surgery to repair the hernia, the surgeon discovered tumors on the lining surrounding the organs in Paul’s abdomen. It was determined to be peritoneal mesothelioma.
Additionally, survival rates for mesothelioma hadn’t reached the point where they have today. Given the stage of his disease and his age, Paul was given less than a year to live.
Once diagnosed, instead of getting his affairs in order, Paul decided to take a different route of action. He and his wife began by researching the disease. They learned everything they could possibly learn about mesothelioma, the treatments being used and the treatments not being used.
Paul's Treatment Plan
There wasn’t much hope for patients diagnosed with mesothelioma in the 1990s. Doctors didn’t understand the disease the way they do now and radical treatments like surgery were riskier. So Paul, with the help of his holistic physician, worked to completely restructure his lifestyle and diet almost immediately as a way to try to keep the cancer from getting any worse.
Paul overhauled his diet, started exercising regularly and began practicing ways to reduce anxiety and stress. The basis of Paul’s anti-cancer diet included things like:
- Cutting out white sugar from diet
- Eliminating processed foods
- Removing white flour from diet
- Using juicing as a way to get nutrients
- Doing away with fried foods
Along with following these basic rules, Paul also became a vegetarian. The research he and his wife did led them to create a diet that was touted for its healthful benefits. His hope was now to both detoxify his body and increase his overall health.
Paul used a plant-based chemotherapy replacement called Ukrain along with high doses of vitamin C in conjunction with his new diet.
Now that there are standard treatments for mesothelioma, Paul advocates for the use of both conventional and alternative treatments.
At the heart of Paul’s philosophy on cancer is keeping an open mind.
It's All About Attitude
One of the things Paul finds most important to surviving a mesothelioma diagnosis is having the right attitude. He puts a lot of stock into how feelings of fear and hopelessness, although normal, can be a detriment to a patient’s recovery.
It’s one of the things that are directly under the patient’s control, and that sense of control can be empowering in and of itself.
Paul believes fighting emotional stress and anxiety is a must for anyone hoping to overcome their disease. “In many cases, peace of mind is a precondition of healing,” said Paul. Practicing relaxation techniques and meditating are two ways that have been proven to significantly reduce stress.
The effects of stress reduction on cancer patients isn’t completely understood. Some people, like Paul, believe it has a direct effect on the body’s self-healing ability and symptoms of pain, and that may be true. In the worst case scenario, practicing techniques to reduce emotional trauma can help facilitate acceptance and peace of mind.
Inspiring Future Mesothelioma Survivors
In many ways, it’s a wonder that Paul Kraus has survived so long using his unconventional methods. Yet, he obviously did something right to achieve remission for a disease he was told he wouldn’t live with for more than a year.
His advice to “accept the diagnosis and reject the prognosis” serves as a poignant reminder to all patients with mesothelioma. Paul felt a need to reach out to others struggling with mesothelioma as a way to show them there is hope after a mesothelioma diagnosis, you just have to believe in it.