Mesothelioma Stage 4: Symptoms, Treatment Options, and Proper Diet

Stage 4 mesothelioma
Image by StockUnlimited

Just like many other types of cancers, mesothelioma stage 4 is the most advanced and difficult to treat. Sadly, most people do not develop any symptoms until the disease has progressed to Stage 3 and Stage 4. In fact, by the time they are diagnosed, the disease is often in the late stage.

If you’ve been diagnosed with early–stage mesothelioma, you’re most likely eligible for traditional treatments—surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy—that can extend your life expectancy.

In Stage 4, mesothelioma usually has spread from the point of the origin throughout the patient’s chest cavity, abdomen, heart, distant lymph nodes, brain, spine, prostate as well as into the bloodstream.

Sadly, the prognosis for mesothelioma stage 4 is usually very poor. Most patients at this stage usually have a year or less to live. At this stage, invasive surgical procedures and aggressive treatments are not recommended as the side effects may be severe. In other words, most treatment options are palliative rather than curative. This means that the mesothelioma patients’ medical needs are focused on end-of-life care such as pain relief management, emotional support, improving symptoms, and generally improving their quality of life. (See alternative treatments for mesothelioma patients)

Mesothelioma Stage 4 Symptoms

Since the tumors have spread widely throughout vital body organs, the symptoms of mesothelioma stage 4 tend to be very much severe compare to other stages. These symptoms only appear after the cancer has progressed in the body. The common symptoms of stage 4 mesothelioma include;

  • Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing
  • A general feeling of unwellness or intense fatigue
  • Fluid accumulation in the chest and abdomen
  • Abdominal pain and discomfort
  • Difficulty swallowing (Dysphagia)
  • Coughing up blood (Hemoptysis)
  • Chest tightness and pain
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Night sweats and fever

Some mesothelioma patients suffer from cachexia, a syndrome that involves weight loss, general body weakness, loss of appetite, muscle atrophy, and fatigue. Stage 4 mesothelioma may also cause blood problems such as anemia (low red blood cell count) and thrombocytosis (high platelet count).

Mesothelioma Stage 4 Treatment Options

The treatment plan for asbestos-cancer is palliative (pain relieving and comfort) than curative. The main treatment options available are intended to extend the life of the patients, alleviate the symptoms, and make them more comfortable. Here are the main treatment options for the late stage of mesothelioma.

  • Chemotherapy: It is one of the most common treatments for stage 4 mesothelioma. Chemotherapy drugs are administered so as to stop the growth of tumors and shrink them. Chemotherapy is used to alleviate the cancer symptoms and also to extend the patient’s life.
  • Radiation Therapy: Doctors use targeted radiation to shrink the tumors and kill mesothelioma cells. Different types of radiations are used depending on the location of the tumor. In Stage 4, radiation therapy is used to help alleviate pain caused by the tumors.
  • Palliative Surgery: Curative surgery is not usually recommended as the tumor is usually too large to be removed. However, palliative surgery may be used to target problematic tumors so as to decrease pain and even help the patient breathe much more comfortably.
  • Supportive Care: Supportive care in Stage 4 is usually recommended to help alleviate symptoms and improve the patient’s quality of life. The doctor may recommend oxygen therapy, pain medication, and respiratory therapy to improve lung function, control pain, and increase comfort.

If you’ve been diagnosed with advanced–stage mesothelioma, traditional treatments may not be an option, but you can participate in clinical trials where researchers are testing newer treatments like immunotherapy.

Mesothelioma Stage 4 Life Expectancy

The late stage of mesothelioma usually has a very poor prognosis. This is because the cancer may have spread to distant organs, and aggressive surgery is not usually a treatment option.

The average life expectancy for stage 4 mesothelioma is said to be one year or less. To ensure that the prognosis is correct, it’s advisable for patients to seek a second opinion.

Mesothelioma Stage 4 Diet

Good nutrition is very essential for patients with mesothelioma in its 4th stage. The effects of the disease plus aggressive treatments may negatively impact on the patient’s health. Making proper diet changes can help you feel better during and after the treatment. A healthy, balanced diet can help you fight off infections very quickly, maintain proper weight, prevent nutritional deficiencies, recover fast, and help you feel much better.

Some of the most important dietary changes to make in stage 4 asbestos-cancer include;

Add plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables- Rich in antioxidants and vitamins that protect and restore the body, and boosts the immune system.

High-quality protein- Rebuilds damaged tissue and boosts the immune system. Eat plenty of chicken, lean meats, lentils and peas, soy products, fish, and dairy foods.

Carbohydrates- Carbohydrates will provide you with enough energy to fight mesothelioma especially during treatment. Whole-grain carbs such as whole-wheat bread, cereals, and brown rice are highly recommended.

Water- It’s easy to become dehydrated when undergoing any kind of treatment, including mesothelioma. Drinking at least eight glasses (2 liters) of water per day is highly recommended.

N.B.: Nutritional supplements should be avoided as they may interfere with the effectiveness of ongoing treatments.

Recipes to Try

These incredible recipes will help you get the nutritional boost and energy you need as you continue with mesothelioma treatment.

1). Chicken Skillet Supper: Protein rich and truly delicious!

Yields 4 servings

You will need;

  • 3 pounds chicken, cut up
  • 10 ounce vegetarian vegetable soup
  • 1 basil leaf
  • 2 sprigs parsley
  • 1 can water

Cooking Instructions:

  • In a cold skillet, place the cut up chicken with the skin side down. Let it brown under medium heat and turn.
  • Remove from heat and peel off the skin. Pour remaining fat into the skillet.
  • Place back the chicken in skillet and pour the vegetable soup and water over it. Add seasoning.
  • Cover the skillet and simmer for about 1 hour while turning the pieces to make them moist.
  • Serve

2). Energy Bowl: Protein-packed and your ideal energy boosting and super healthy meal.

Yields 3 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1 bag of steamed mixed vegetables
  • 2 cups of instant brown rice
  • 3 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp jarred minced garlic
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

Cooking Directions:

  • Cook the instant brown rice as directed on the box.
  • Drain and rinse the beans thoroughly.
  • Steam the vegetables
  • Add beans and vegetables to the brown rice.
  • Stir well in olive oil, garlic, and soy sauce.
  • Serve warm

3). Super-Smoothie Recipe: This delicious smoothie is packed with cancer-fighting antioxidants and vitamins. It’s also an incredible energy booster!

Ingredients:

  • A cup yoghurt (vanilla flavor)
  • A cup milk
  • A cup of fresh or frozen raspberries or blueberries or blackberries.
  • 2 tbsp of ground flax meal
  • 1 handful of raw spinach
  • 5 ice cubes

Preparation Directions:

  • Put all the ingredients into the blender.
  • Blend thoroughly until well mixed.
  • Serve

You might also like;