Mesothelioma Patients May See Improved Quality of Life Through Meditation Practice
Many mesothelioma patients who have beaten the odds by surviving over 10 years after diagnosis attribute some of their longevity to holistic treatments. Paul Kraus, a 14-year mesothelioma survivor, plotted his own course of treatment relying on alternative therapies, as well as yoga and meditation. Kraus and many other cancer patients can give anecdotal evidence that meditation and holistic therapies have helped them with their battle, but researchers at MD Anderson Cancer center are seeking scientific proof through a clinical trial.
Treatment for mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer, most often includes surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. However, no cancer treatment has proven effective in eradicating the tumors, and the disease is incurable. Most often, treatment is focused on improving the patient’s quality of life by relieving the pain and symptoms.
Lorenzo Cohen, PhD, Professor and Director of the Integrative Medicine Program at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, is a strong proponent for using the mind to improve a patient’s quality of life. To support his theory, Cohen is conducting a feasibility study to determine if a meditation program helps to improve quality of life after receiving chemotherapy.
Focusing on breast cancer survivors who have completed their chemotherapy treatment, the clinical trial will introduce a Tibetan Meditation program to the women and assess the effects of meditation on cognitive function, fatigue, quality of life, mental health and sleep disturbances.
In a recent CancerWise blog, Cohen and Alejandro Chaoul, Ph.D., reported that through “focused, controlled regulation of breathing and control over thoughts and feelings that come to mind,” a patient can reduce stress, and become more relaxed, alert and focused.
“Calming your mind and harmonizing your life is not just an ancient myth or a tool reserved for those in monasteries or caves, it is here for society as a whole,” said Cohen and Chaoul.
Nearly 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year. Many of them rely on clinical trials for the opportunity to receive new, effective treatments. This clinical trial is unique in that no drugs are introduced, and during the trial patients learn a skill they can continue to practice once the trial is over.
The clinical trial is scheduled for completion in October.
Doctors are becoming more supportive of alternative treatments and even encourage their mesothelioma patients to look towards holistic care and alternative therapies that focus on improving their emotional and physical well-being. Prior to beginning any new treatment program, please discuss it with your doctor.