One of the most challenging aspects of a cancer diagnosis is the inevitable discussion of life expectancy. Questions concerning life expectancy are paramount to most cancer patients almost from the first moment they receive their diagnosis. Doctors and therapists who work with cancer patients believe that focusing too much on life expectancy can have a negative effect on a patient’s chances of survival and how their bodies will react to treatment. A better approach is to rather focus on quality of life.
Life Expectancy Vs Life Quality
When we talk about life expectancy we are talking about an estimated amount of time a cancer patient may have left. When too much attention is focused on this consideration, a patient can begin to experience depression which is scientifically proven to have a drastic effect on the immune system and the body’s ability to heal. All of this works against the patient, making treatment more difficult.
Life quality, however, is the enjoyment and satisfaction a patient is receiving each day as they move along their journey. This is a vastly different way of viewing one’s time. When a cancer patient focuses on increasing their quality of life it can have a drastic effect on their outlook, immune response, and the way their body ultimately responds to treatment. In some cases, patients can increase their life expectancy when they quit thinking about how long they have to live and instead focus solely on living their very best each day.
How to Improve Quality of Life
You can improve the quality of life by taking the time to evaluate how it is you want to truly spend your time. Some patients find it helpful to speak with a therapist in order to really pinpoint these areas. It is also helpful to reevaluate priorities at this time so that you can better understand where your time has been spent.
Quality of life can also be greatly improved through making good food choices, being conscious of necessary vitamins and supplements that your body needs, and by shedding stress on a regular basis.
Many people find that they can improve their quality of life by spending more time with loved ones, incorporating mindfulness or meditation into their daily routine, and focusing on aspects of their health which they have control over.
It is understandable to think about life expectancy following a Mesothelioma diagnosis. It is important, though, to remember, that although you may not have much control over the life expectancy estimate, you always have control over the quality of your own life.