(855) 575-6376

Muscle Weakness in Mesothelioma Patients

Legally Reviewed by Joseph P. Williams on April 27, 2022

Muscle weakness is a common symptom in mesothelioma cancer patients, especially in the later stages of the disease when the cancer spreads throughout the body. It typically becomes severe in stage 4, but patients can lose muscle mass and experience muscle weakness at any stage of the disease. Combating muscle weakness and learning how to rebuild muscle mass can help a patient with mesothelioma improve quality of life and increase survival rates.

What Is the Connection Between Mesothelioma and Muscle Weakness?

Like most types of cancer, mesothelioma can cause chemical imbalances in the body that impact the muscles. These effects are more pronounced in the later stages of mesothelioma, when the cancer has metastasized and is no longer isolated in only one part of the body. In addition, many mesothelioma patients experience changes in appetite and trouble eating that can result in unexplained weight loss. This includes issues connected to swallowing in patients with pleural mesothelioma and stomach problems for patients with peritoneal mesothelioma.

Unexplained weight loss can result in “muscle wasting” or “wasting syndrome.” This is when the body does not have stores of fat to burn as fuel, so it draws energy from lean tissues such as muscle and red blood cells instead. This can cause muscle weakness, along with general fatigue, loss of coordination and balance, and other health problems. Muscle weakness can also be caused or exacerbated by mesothelioma treatments, such as surgery and chemotherapy. All of these issues put a patient with mesothelioma at a high risk of experiencing muscle weakness.

Why It’s Important to Combat Muscle Weakness With Mesothelioma

If you or a loved one is suffering from muscle weakness as a side effect of mesothelioma or mesothelioma treatment, it is important to combat this issue for the patient’s health and future. You should also choose to be proactive about preventing muscle weakness even if you do not yet notice this symptom. This is because muscle weakness can have a major impact on your overall health, prognosis and quality of life.

Experiencing muscle weakness as a patient with mesothelioma can reduce your quality of living and impact your survival rate. Muscle weakness can make day-to-day life harder, such as interfering with your ability to walk, lift things, work and engage in your normal daily activities. If muscle weakness reaches the point of muscle wasting, you may be less able to withstand mesothelioma treatments, such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy

You may need more breaks between radiation treatments, for example, or be ineligible for certain surgeries to treat mesothelioma. These issues can derail your treatment plan and worsen your survival rate. For all of these reasons, it is important to try to combat muscle weakness as someone living with mesothelioma.

How to Address Muscle Weakness While Living With Mesothelioma

The first step in preventing muscle weakness is by talking to your doctor. Your mesothelioma specialist can help you strategize the best ways to minimize muscle weakness early on in your diagnosis. Your doctor can help you identify the problem if you are already experiencing muscle weakness, as well, such as a lack of appetite or missing proteins in your diet. This can enable you to remedy the problem, such as by drinking protein shakes, making sure you get enough nutrients and exercising regularly. Good nutritional support and exercise are essential to help you fight muscle weakness and cancer as a whole.

If your muscle weakness is caused by a chemical imbalance that is connected to the cancer itself, you may be able to take supplements to help balance the hormones in your body. Researchers are constantly searching for new drugs to promote muscle metabolism in cancer patients, as well as special dietary supplements. You may be eligible for a clinical trial for one of these drugs. Talk to your doctor about this possibility and discuss other ways to address muscle weakness with mesothelioma.

Free consultation

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.