We have all heard the phrase ‘you are what you eat’ and it makes sense that eating healthily makes for a healthier body, but when you are battling a vicious cancer such as mesothelioma, what is the best food to eat?

Surgeons, oncologists and pathologists in Japan have compared 83 pleural mesothelioma patients’ responses to treatment and found that those with the worst nutritional status had the worst prognosis.

They used the Controlling Nutritional Status (CONUT) score to see the patient’s immunonutritional status and classified patients as having either a high or low CONUT score. Out of the 83 patients, there were 31 in the high CONUT group. These were found to have a “significantly poorer overall survival and disease-or progression-free survival”.

While the study does show that the CONUT score seems to be a good tool for advising mesothelioma patients whether they will benefit from treatment, it does not advise on the impact of food and supplement intake which could affect prognosis.

Although whilst having some treatments, such as chemotherapy, those suffering with mesothelioma may lose their appetite, it is important that they try to eat a balanced diet to keep their strength up and maintain weight. It may be helpful to eat antioxidant-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, oily fish, lean protein and fibre. If experiencing nausea from chemotherapy it is recommended to avoid fried, sugary or spicy foods. It is also important to stay hydrated.

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Takamori, S, et al, “The Controlling Nutritional Status Score is a Significant Independent Predictor of Poor Prognosis in Patients with Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma”, February 2, 2017, Clinical Lung Cancer, Epub ahead of print

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