Can Medicinal Mushrooms Help Mesothelioma Patients?

Mushrooms for Mesothelioma Disease

If you’ve been reading about malignant mesothelioma for a while, you already know that the prognosis is not very good. Most people are not given a mesothelioma diagnosis until the disease is advanced, and if surgery is needed, it may be followed by radiation and/or chemotherapy. Many patients with malignant mesothelioma die within the first 12 months of diagnosis.

How Asbestos Harms the Body

The disease itself is complicated. Asbestos fibers from one of several sources are breathed into the lungs. The body recognizes them as a foreign object and wants to remove them; however, there’s no viable way that can happen. The fibers are long and thin and embed themselves within the tissues. This sets up an inflammation and the immune system wants to wall them off to prevent further harm.

The problem is that often there are too many asbestos fibers that are in the lungs. Inflammation attracts the process of cancer to develop and soon, nodules form, become tumors and can then invade the lymphatic system or regular circulation and spread to internal organs such as the abdomen, heart, lungs, scrotum, vagina, and brain.

Diet and Cancer

In the last decade, the effects of diet and nutrients on the body have been extensively studied. It’s not only vitamins and minerals that can boost immune function; it’s also foods that contain a myriad of active ingredients that affect metabolism, the microbiome, and every organ. These active ingredients have beneficial effects on health.

Researchers have also discovered many ways to alter the progression of cancer via diet. There are specific foods that stop metastases via the blockage of the capillary growth that feeds tumors. These foods are called angiogenesis inhibitors.

Other researchers have found that the best diet for cancer is to eliminate sugar, which is said to feed the tumors, and to lower carbohydrates to a very low amount that is sufficient to be called a ketosis diet.

Medical Practitioners Don’t Offer A Mesothelioma Diet

Yet most medical doctors aren’t really qualified to create a mesothelioma diet, nor decide whether or not medicinal mushrooms and mesothelioma go together. Without the training, they can’t make smart clinical decisions on this matter.

That’s what one Japanese patient realized when he made his own decision on what mesothelioma diet he should eat. He didn’t change a whole lot of his diet and merely added a medicinal mushroom extract to his daily regimen.

His diagnosis was malignant pleural mesothelioma in his right chest cavity. He did opt for the surgery to remove the pleura of the lung that was affected. However, the tumor relapsed and his chest pain worsened. During this time, he began his mesothelioma diet with the medicinal mushroom extract. The tumor shrunk and completely disappeared during his 29-month follow-up visit at the doctor’s office.

He did not ask his doctor if there was any possible benefit from taking medicinal mushrooms on mesothelioma, or if diet affected mesothelioma prior to taking the mushrooms. The recorded benefits of medicinal mushrooms working as an immunomodulator are well known in the medical literature.

The list of these medicinal mushrooms includes Reishi, Turkey Tail, Cordiceps, Chaga and Lion’s Mane. Of these, Reishi, Turkey Tail and Chaga are the top medicinal mushrooms used for cancer by the Traditional Chinese Medical practitioners.

What is Immunomodulation?

Immunomodulation means bringing the immune system back to normal. If the immune system is weak, the medicinal ingredients of the mushroom will stimulate the immune system to bring it up to normal. If the immune system is overbearing and overstimulated, such as what happens with autoimmune disorders, the mushroom ingredients will calm down the immune system to bring it back to normal.

With medical advancements in mesothelioma, immunomodulation is currently incorporated into some protocols. The difference between medicinal mushroom immunomodulation and pharmaceutical immunomodulation is that pharmaceutical is more specific. Mushrooms do certain functions in a broad manner once inside the human body, and either the body needs these performed or it doesn’t. If it does, then a benefit will be received.

The doctor recording the benefits of the mushroom on mesothelioma in the malignant mesothelioma patient did not comment on how long he lived so we don’t know the real capability of the medicinal mushrooms on mesothelioma. Only additional studies can bring out that answer.

Study on Diet and Mesothelioma

Another medical report reported on the effect of diet on mesothelioma. The doctors at Bengbu Medical College in China discovered that both green tea and wild mushroom consumption were both beneficial for lung cancer and malignant pleural mesothelioma. They didn’t have a specific mesothelioma diet mapped out for patients as a result.

Simply, the doctors found that the greater the consumption of green tea and wild mushrooms, the lower the incidence of lung cancer or mesothelioma. You should know that all patients in this study – the 23 cases of lung cancer, 26 cases of mesothelioma, and 106 healthy controls – were exposed to natural-occurring asbestos in their everyday environment. Thus, all had the potential to end up with a mesothelioma diagnosis because of the environment.

The doctors stated that the food preference of eating the wild mushrooms modified the crocidolite reaction in the body, reducing the risk of becoming ill from the asbestos fibers. They concluded that both green tea and wild mushroom might serve as protective factors on lung cancer or malignant pleural mesothelioma.

At this time, the relationship between diet and mesothelioma needs further exploration. However, these two reports of the effects of medicinal mushrooms on mesothelioma give us a ray of hope to those who often can only see nothing but a deep, dark tunnel before them for the rest of their life. One day, someone will determine what a mesothelioma diet actually looks like, how it works, and how it extends life of those with a mesothelioma diagnosis.


Higashiyama, M., et al. Malignant pleural mesothelioma with long-term tumor disappearance of a local relapse after surgery: a case report. J Med Case Rep 2009 Mar 27;3:6800.

Jia, X., et al. A case control study on the relationship between food preference and lung cancer and mesothelioma in a rural area with naturally occurring asbestos. Wei Sheng Yan Jiu 2016 Sep;45(5):771-776.

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