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For Veterans with Mesothelioma, Meditation May Relieve Pain and Stress

For patients with mesothelioma, meditation is one path for relieving stress and pain.

For mesothelioma, meditation may relieve pain, stress

Photo Source: Quinn Dombrowski

For some, meditation can be a religious affirmation of faith; for others, not so much. Either way, meditation is a complementary therapy that more and more cancer centers are using as a way to help cancer patients reduce stress and tolerate pain. For Navy veterans with mesothelioma, meditation may be a helpful complementary therapy that can be incorporated as part of traditional treatment for malignant mesothelioma cancer.

To meditate is to think in a conscious and purposeful manner, often with the help of a spoken word or music. For centuries, meditation has been practiced by millions of people the world over. Now traditional Western scientists are finding that the meditative act of slowing the mind works to enhance traditional approaches to cancer treatment, like chemotherapy for mesothelioma, for instance.

In controlled scientific studies, doctors have learned that meditation and focused thought help patients with stress brought on by cancer and cancer treatment, as well as the stress associated with post-traumatic stress disorder and arthritis. Meditation can help cancer patients to reduce heart rates, improve immune function and better tolerate the pain that accompanies cancer and its treatment.

At the Mayo Clinic, doctors have used biofeedback to prove a tangible benefit in patients who practice meditation. Meditation provides a sense of calm and well-being that helps patients feel better emotionally and physically.

Other cancer clinics use meditation to help patients derive a spiritual benefit as well, reports the Monroe Monitor. Fred Hutchinson Cancer Care Clinic in Seattle, Washington includes meditation as part of the clinic’s chaplaincy services. Meditation helps many people with cancer, such as mesothelioma, to feel a stronger spiritual connection to God or to nature.

Many folks may still associate meditation with some sort of 1960s counter-culture-sitar-music-and-incense experience. But the practice is fairly mainstream today in America. Indeed, Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple who brought us i-pads and i-phones, practiced meditation on a daily basis.

Meditation can be as simple as ten minutes of quiet reflection each morning. Or it may involve chanting and breathing exercises along with deep thought. Whatever form of meditation appeals to you, spend five to ten minutes each day on a consistent basis and you should reap the benefits. Speak with your doctor or someone on your cancer team to learn more about meditation and whether it’s something that might fit in with your traditional treatment for mesothelioma.


Written by Amy Blumenthal

Amy Blumenthal is a partner with Blumenthal & Gruber, LLP. A graduate of The University of Pennsylvania (BA in Psychology/Minor in Marketing – The Wharton School) and SMU in Dallas with JD and MBA degrees, Amy has been representing Navy families battling mesothelioma since 1992. Read more about Amy…

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