Our Patient Advocate Answers Facebook Questions About Loss of Appetite, Life Span, Other Issues

Woman jumping on the beach

Our Facebook members are always asking us questions about health or looking for advice about cancer treatment, and other issues related to mesothelioma.

Since I can’t offer medical advice, I enlisted the help of The Mesothelioma Center’s resident nurse and patient advocate, Karen Selby. She provided us with
some answers to the questions posted throughout October on our Facebook wall.

Michelle Holiday, who lives in the U.K., asks:
“My dad is getting very tired and has lost his appetite. What can he do to help this?”

In regards to your father being tired, this is common in cancer patients as their metabolism has increased due to the body growing cancer. He probably
feels as though he’s run a marathon. His body needs rest.

The lack of appetite is also a side effect of the cancer and his treatment. Try asking your doctor for a
prescription for an appetite booster. This is a common request for most cancer patients. You can also try a meal replacement, like Ensure, to get protein.
Another option is going to your local health store or GNC, and asking for a protein isolate. This is a pure form of protein that can be added to ice cream,
or even Ensure, that gives you 30 grams of protein in one meal. Protein is a key substance for
your dad when recovering from cancer and cancer treatment.

Pamela Nelson Wendt, of Kentucky, asks:
“On the average, what is the life span of survivors once finding out that they have this horrible monster [mesothelioma]?”

Determining life expectancy is hard to do when there are so many factors to
consider: Stage at diagnosis, primary tumor location, tumor cell type/histology, performance status, gender and blood characteristics. The impact of these
factors differs for everyone.

Something that skews the numbers a bit is the fact that most people are already in the late stages of mesothelioma before they are even diagnosed. This makes the average life
expectancy anywhere from 12 to 16 months. But as we know from our Wall of Hope, there
are many people that live well beyond that time frame.

Sara Ashworth Babin asks:
“What is the best type of follow-up radiology exam after undergoing HIPEC?”

First off, we hope the HIPEC procedure was effective for you or your loved one.
It has a very high success rate when it comes to peritoneal mesothelioma. It has been known to prolong the survival rate in peritoneal mesothelioma
patients, and is FDA approved.

Now back to the question at hand. While it depends on where in the body the tumor is located, a CT scan will most likely be the best radiology exam follow-up for the HIPEC procedure.

Barbara J. Walker, of Minnesota, asks:
“Is there a first line of defense when you have just been diagnosed with mesothelioma in the early stages?”

This is a tough question because it’s not a perfect science. Everyone’s situation and cancer is different. Some doctors might suggest chemotherapy first to shrink the tumor before operating, others could
suggest going straight to surgery and nipping it in the bud. It really depends on you, your doctor, and what type of treatment play they follow.


Most Shared Image on Our Facebook Page

Woman jumping on the beach


We hope these questions from members and answers from our patient advocates offer some helpful information about the content we publish onThe Mesothelioma Center’s Facebook page. If you have any other questions, please email us at outreach@asbestos.com or send us a message on our Facebook page.

We’d love to hear from you!


Nadia Persaud joined the Mesothelioma Center in 2011 as the Social Media Community Analyst. She is excited to be spreading awareness about asbestos safety and new developments in the industry with our online community. If you have a story idea for Nadia, please email her at npersaud@asbestos.com.

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