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Alternative Mesothelioma Treatment

Alternative mesothelioma treatment gives patients additional ways to manage their health outside of traditional therapies. Alternative treatments may reduce mesothelioma symptoms, improve overall health, and help patients have a higher quality of life. That said, alternative treatments should not be substituted for standard treatment.

What Is Alternative Treatment for Mesothelioma?

Alternative mesothelioma treatments, also called complementary treatments, encompass a wide range of therapies that a cancer specialist won’t normally provide.

Alternative mesothelioma treatment options include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Dietary supplements
  • Massage
  • Meditation
  • Yoga

If you have malignant mesothelioma, alternative therapies may help ease cancer symptoms, manage standard treatment side effects, and improve your emotional well-being. You can learn about these complementary therapies by speaking with your oncologists (cancer doctors).

Alternative Treatment and Integrative Medicine

Alternative mesothelioma treatments, also called complementary treatments, encompass many therapies that a cancer specialist won’t typically provide.

“In integrative oncology, we combine the best of the complimentary [therapies] as well as mainstream care. Our therapies are very, very beneficial. We help you to be as resilient as possible, we decrease side effects, and help you to be able to receive appropriate treatment.”

– Dr. Kathleen Wesa, Integrative Medicine Specialist at Garnet Health Medical Center

Alternative therapies are not proven to kill cancer cells, so doctors do not substitute them for established mesothelioma treatment. However, these complementary treatments are sometimes used together in what is known as integrative medicine.

Types of Alternative Mesothelioma Treatments

A senior practicing meditation


Meditation teaches patients to quiet the mind from compulsive thoughts and emotions, which can reduce tension and stress. It also has an extra benefit for patients with pleural mesothelioma, as it often includes deep breathing techniques that may help boost lung function.

acupuncture on a patients hand


Acupuncture uses very thin needles inserted into specific points on the body to ease cancer symptoms like dry mouth, fatigue, and nausea from chemotherapy, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The needles do not hurt the patients and may actually make them feel relaxed.

Older couple practicing tai chi

Tai Chi

Tai Chi is a Chinese technique that combines slow, physical movements with deep breathing and mindfulness. According to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Tai Chi can reduce pain and fatigue among cancer patients.

Elderly man in gym with towel around his neck


Gentle exercise may help reduce mesothelioma symptoms such as fatigue and stress. Some clinical studies have shown that exercise programs can help cancer patients live longer. After a mesothelioma diagnosis, talk to your doctor or physical therapist about starting an exercise plan.

“The benefits of exercise […] is that it maintains energy and it allows patients to continue fighting this disease.”

– Dr. Taylor Ripley, Mesothelioma Specialist

Man sitting on yoga mat meditating


Yoga is an ancient practice that combines stretching with deep breathing. As an alternative treatment option, yoga may ease stress, improve sleep, and reduce fatigue.

Man getting a massage

Lymphatic Massage Therapy

Massage can reduce swelling and lead to better function of the lymphatic system, which removes toxins and waste from tissues in the body. Among cancer patients, lymphatic massage may help decrease depression, fatigue, and insomnia.

biofeedback on a hand


Biofeedback uses electrodes to record a patient’s muscle tension, heart rate, breathing, and other information. Based on these test results, biofeedback technicians can then work with the patient to reduce physical and mental stress.

“Biofeedback has been shown to help people reduce the severity and occurrence of headaches, insomnia, and chronic pain. But it has not been found to affect cancer cells.”

– University of Rochester Medical Center

chiropractor working on an elderly womans neck

Chiropractic Medicine

Chiropractors treat a variety of conditions — including pain from cancer symptoms — without medications or invasive surgery. Instead, they manipulate the spine and other joints to release tension and help patients feel better.

Older man consoling his wife

Mental Health Counseling

Mental health counselors such as psychologists can help mesothelioma patients with pain management, depression, and stress. Mental health counseling options include hypnotherapy, which puts cancer patients into a state of increased focus and concentration, and cognitive behavioral therapy, which seeks to change a person’s thoughts and emotions to improve their overall health.

Older man in glasses playing the guitar

Music Therapy

With music therapy, certified therapists use songs and musical instruments to trigger positive emotional responses in patients. This type of therapy is usually tailored to a patient’s musical tastes and may include listening to music, writing songs, or playing an instrument. A 2016 review of over 50 clinical trials found music therapy relieved some patients’ cancer symptoms, including anxiety and depression, insomnia, and fatigue.

Many cancer centers and local hospitals have on-staff music therapists to help patients, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

Mesothelioma Diets and Nutrition Plans

Mesothelioma patients may have difficulty getting enough calories due to symptoms like loss of appetite, nausea, and bloating. Fortunately, nutrition plans can help patients navigate this problem and get the proper nutrients.

There is no specific diet for mesothelioma patients, but nutritional needs may change throughout treatment. Additionally, some foods may actually cause symptoms to flare up.

A person holds a bowl of soupSome dietary suggestions include:

  • Eat whenever hungry, no matter what time of day it is
  • Supplement diet with high-calorie meal replacement drinks
  • Consume pureed meals if solid foods become difficult to eat
  • Eat several smaller meals throughout the day
  • Eat sitting up and do not lie down after eating
  • Eat high-fiber foods to ease constipation

Herbal and Dietary Supplements

Taking herbal supplements is one of the more common forms of alternative mesothelioma treatment. Herbal medicines and supplements are said to ease patients’ symptoms and treatment side effects.

A bowl of supplement capsulesExamples of herbal supplements include:

  • Adenophora root: This root acts as an antibiotic and is used for dry coughing
  • Asparagus root: Asparagus root is believed to prevent cells from growing
  • Astragalus: This is used to support immune function and slow tumor growth
  • Licorice root: Licorice is an expectorant and has been found to relieve coughing and shortness of breath
  • Poria mushrooms: This supplement may help with abdominal swelling and improve sleep

Talk to your doctor before taking any herbal or dietary supplements. The American Cancer Society (ACS) warns that certain supplements might have a negative effect on established treatments like chemotherapy drugs and radiation therapy.

Other Alternative Treatment Options

The alternative treatments listed above are only a sample — there are many other therapies that patients can explore with a doctor’s help.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS Therapy):

TENS therapy uses small pads attached to electrical currents to relieve pain. In a 2015 study, TENS therapy helped reduce pain in nearly 70% of cancer patients.

Energy Therapies:

Therapies like Reiki and Jin Shin Jyutsu® claim that the human body has a continuous flow of energy. Practitioners lightly touch the body to restore the energy balance, which may ease stress and decrease pain from cancer symptoms.

Pet Therapy:

Cancer patients interact with trained therapy dogs to reduce depression and pain. The patients can even walk or play with the dogs to get some exercise.


Aromatherapy uses fragrant oils that many find to be very calming. The oils are used in massage, added to bathwater, or diffused into the air. Some patients find aromatherapy to be helpful in relieving nausea, pain, and stress.

Alternative Mesothelioma Treatment FAQs

What is the best alternative cancer treatment?

The best alternative treatment is whichever one that helps relieve your mental stress and cancer symptoms.

Consult with a doctor before starting any alternative cancer treatments — especially dietary supplements — to make sure they will help and not harm you.

Are alternative mesothelioma treatments safe?

Most alternative mesothelioma treatments are generally considered safe, with little to no side effects. If you are concerned about the safety of alternative treatments, speak with your health care providers.

Do alternative mesothelioma treatments work?

Some alternative medicine therapies can ease cancer symptoms, emotional stress, and side effects of chemotherapy and other mesothelioma cancer treatments.

Mesothelioma patients have benefited from many alternative treatments, including mind-body therapies like yoga and meditation. Acupressure, reflexology, and massage therapy have also helped many people.

However, seeking proper medical care is the best way to improve your lifespan. Do not substitute alternative therapies for standard medical treatments.

How can I access alternative treatments?

You can find alternative mesothelioma treatments by:

Talking To Cancer Care Providers: Your doctors and nurses can recommend alternative treatments available through the hospital system. For example, your hospital may have mental health counselors or music therapists on staff.

Connecting With Local Resources: There may be chiropractors, massage therapists, or others who provide alternative mesothelioma treatment near you. Reach out to them and see if they have experience helping cancer patients.

Going Digital: You might be able to access alternative treatments without the need for in-person visits. Psychologists and yoga teachers may be able to help you through phone, FaceTime, or Zoom calls.

What foods are good for mesothelioma?

There is no special diet for mesothelioma patients, but your cancer team can help you come up with a nutrition plan to ease your symptoms and generally feel better.

For example, your team may recommend fiber-rich foods to help with constipation.

Alternative mesothelioma treatments, such as herbal and dietary supplements, can also help patients manage symptoms. These include licorice root, which can relieve coughing and shortness of breath, and astragalus, which supports the immune system.

Patients should check with their doctor before taking supplements.

Learn More About Alternative Mesothelioma Treatments

Although mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer, alternative treatments can help patients live more comfortably and improve their quality of life.

Patients interested in trying alternative mesothelioma treatments should work with their doctors to determine a suitable treatment plan. Remember that alternative therapies work best when they are used alongside conventional cancer treatments.

Call (866) 608-8933 to speak with a registered nurse about alternative mesothelioma treatments. To learn more about available treatment options, get a free Mesothelioma Guide.