Those who have been exposed to asbestos, and later developed mesothelioma or other cancers, can sometimes complement their medical treatments with vitamins, herbal supplements or other types of therapeutic supplements, to avoid side effects and increase the chance of survival.

Considering that Americans spent more than $20 billion on dietary supplements in 2015, it appears there are some serious believers in the power of supplements. Although many of these supplements can definitely help, remember to always speak to your doctor about changes to your health regimen.

In theory, we receive the nutrients our bodies need through our diet; however in practice, far too many Americans exist on diets laden with nutritionally devoid junk foods.

Unfortunately, cancer patients who undergo such therapies as radiation or chemotherapy can find eating difficult, at best. These patients may experience nausea, as well as oral complications which further contribute to an inability to eat the most health-giving, nutritious foods.

Some of the benefits of taking supplements while undergoing treatment for mesothelioma include:

-Feeling better physically, which, in turn, results in feeling better mentally;

-Helping to maintain your body’s strength and energy levels, and

-Lowering the risk of infection, while promoting the healing of your body.

Survey Shows the Majority of Consumers in the U.S. Regularly Take Supplements

A whopping 63 percent of consumers regularly took dietary supplements in 2012—a three percent increase from 2011.

Multi-vitamins were the most popular dietary supplement, followed by:

  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin C
  • Calcium
  • B-complex vitamins
  • Fish oil
  • Iron
  • CoQ10

Can Supplements Interact with Medical Treatments for Mesothelioma?

If you have mesothelioma and are undergoing traditional treatments for the disease, it is important that you are very careful regarding the supplements you take. In some cases, supplements can interact with therapeutic regimens.

As an example, dietary supplements which contain antioxidants may actually interfere with chemotherapy or radiation treatments. Further, vitamins and minerals tend to work in conjunction with the foods you eat, rather than an isolated vacuum.

Australian Legend Paul Kraus

In 1997, Holocaust survivor Paul Kraus was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma, which is a type of asbestos-related cancer which attacks the abdominal lining. The “normal” prognosis for a patient with this type of cancer is from 3-12 months, yet 20 years later, Paul Kraus is alive and well.

Kraus has attributed his survival to a variety of factors, including Chinese Medicine, visualization, prayer, and supplements. A supplement could be a vitamin, a mineral, an herb, a plant extract, amino acids or enzymes. Science has shown that antioxidants can inhibit the growth of tumors, especially those associated with malignant mesothelioma.

Supplements as an Alternative to Medical Treatments?

Unfortunately, far too many people still lack access to low-cost health care, which could be the primary reason so many Americans are turning to dietary supplements to treat their illnesses. There are risks associated with supplements, however, and just because the label says “all-natural,” does not mean the supplement is safe.

While nutritional supplements may be a great addition to your treatment of mesothelioma, if not closely monitored by your cancer team, supplements can cause additional problems.

As an example, calcium, vitamin D and shark cartilage, while appropriate in the treatment of some diseases and illnesses, can weaken your bones and cause other issues. On the flip side, supplements such as folic acid or vitamin E can offset the toxicity in your chemotherapy drugs.

The main takeaway here is that if you want to add supplements to your treatment regimen, you must be sure to speak to your doctor to make sure those supplements won’t have any negative interactions with your medical treatments. Life post-diagnosis is not easy, but with a solid medical & legal team behind you, it is possible.