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There has been a great deal of criticism about the role that the mainstream health industry has to play in the treatment of mesothelioma and other cancers. The model we have followed for the majority of the twentieth century involves the use of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, usually paid for by insurance companies. These treatments do yield a high level of success for their patients, however they leave us with two very difficult problems: first, they are very expensive (which is particularly troublesome as we see a continued rise in cancer incidence), and second, they invariably come with a host of very unfortunate, and sometimes deadly, side effects. 

Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that usually develops in the mesothelium, the soft protective lining that covers the organs in the body, and can also occur in other lining tissues like the pericardium (the sac surrounding the heart) and the lining of the abdominal cavity as well. It is caused almost exclusively by exposure to asbestos, and may not surface as cancer until decades after the exposure. Like all cancers, mesothelioma is characterized by a sudden, rapid increase of cellular division and growth. Depending on the affected area, the cancer typically results in pain, swelling, anemia, and often severe complications resulting from obstructive growth in the area. 
Unlike some cancers, surgery is seldom conducted as a principal treatment for mesothelioma; chemotherapy is used almost all of the time, sometimes in conjunction with radiation therapy. Chemotherapy involves the use of antineoplastic chemicals (“antineoplastic” means that that it kills neoplasms, or cells undergoing rapid division and growth). The problem with chemotherapy is that it kills all naturally occurring neoplasms as well, including bone marrow, hair follicles and gastrointestinal lining, resulting respectively in myelosuppression (a decrease in the production of blood cells), hair loss, and mucositis (inflammation of the digestive tract). Mesothelioma is especially dangerous and has a median survival rate of 6 to 18 months after diagnosis. 
What makes the matter more challenging are the apparent testimonies of individuals who have overcome cancers like mesothelioma through entirely different medicinal practices. One such mesothelioma survivor is Paul Kraus, an Australian who was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 1997 Dismayed by chemotherapy and the debilitating side effects, Mr. Kraus sought alternative cancer treatments, which involved a radical and unorthodox approach to treating the cancer, including dietary change, ozone treatments, meditation and other holistic approaches. Eight years later, Mr. Kraus was still alive and healthy; though still having cancer, the cancer had remitted into non-malignant status and Mr. Kraus can be said to have won the battle with cancer. 

In 2005, Paul Kraus wrote Surviving Mesothelioma: A Patient’s Guide. In it, Mr. Kraus details the dangers of the cancer, the dangers of chemotherapy, and the details and rationales behind the alternative treatments. The book has been heralded as a source of inspiration to mesothelioma patients, and a tremendous asset to the development of cost-effective, safe alternative cancer treatments.

This Personal Development article was written by Mark Karavan on 12/4/2009