These can be very common symptoms of mesothelioma and advice from a dietitian may be helpful. Nutritional supplements, (particularly those containing fish oil derivatives such as Prosure), may help in some cases but it is unhelpful to try to force food into someone who is either feeling sickly or has no appetite.
Occasionally medication can be used to stimulate appetite – steroids can do this: either prednisolone or dexamethasone in the short-term, or megesterol acetate (Megace) which takes about 3 weeks to work but can be continued if effective.
The loss of a healthy physique can be extremely distressing, particularly for people who have previously been physically fit and active. Eating little and often may be much more successful than trying to keep to 3 meals a day.
Tastes commonly change, for example, patients may find that they tend to prefer more sweet foods than they have done before – this does not matter but means some dietary changes may be necessary in order to maximise the amount of food eaten. Oral thrush, a common mouth infection, may alter taste or cause a sore mouth which reduces food intake; it is easily treated with nystatin or flucanazole.
For more information with receipes and menu plans click here to download the Mesothelioma and Diet booklet.