Lung Cancer: Lifestyle Management

Reviewed by Bronwyn Long, DNP, MBA, RN, Jeffrey Kern, MD, Laurie L. Carr, MD

Living with lung cancer is a unique and special challenge that you and your family must deal with on a daily basis. However, the more you know about lung cancer, the better suited you will be in managing lung cancer.

As you take steps toward managing lung cancer, your quality of life may improve. Be sure to talk with your health care provider if you have questions or concerns about your plan. Write down any questions you have about managing lung cancer and ask your health care provider at your next appointment. People often have concerns about a number of common symptoms including pain and dyspnea or shortness of breath.

Palliative care addresses the discomforts caused by symptoms of disease and side effects of treatment, the goals of care and the hopes of patients and family members.

Successfully managing lung cancer is important for everyone. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Exercise regularly as directed by your health care provider. You may feel general fatigue due to the lung cancer and treatment. Your exercise program can be modified based on how you are feeling. A physical therapist can be very helpful when planning an exercise program, learning breathing techniques and addressing non-medication pain management strategies.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet and drink plenty of fluid. Ask your health care provider about being seen by a registered dietitian. A registered dietitian can be helpful when thinking of strategies to address the nutrition issues related to lung cancer and treatment.
  • Give up smoking and avoid exposure to passive smoke. Ask your health care provider for techniques to help you give up smoking.

 

I’ve Got Lung Cancer – Why Should I Quit Smoking?

You have a cancer diagnosis. Why stop smoking now? Here are four reasons: Research supports that smoking can:
  1. Make cancer treatment less effective

  2. Leave cancer patients less able to tolerate cancer treatment

  3. Increase the risk of complications from cancer treatment

  4. Increase the risk of developing another cancer

If you have been diagnosed with cancer, quitting smoking can give you the best chance for your cancer treatment to work.
 

Benefits of smoking cessation:

For Cancer Treatment
  • Best chance for cancer treatment to work

  • Better tolerance of cancer therapy side effects

  • Improves wound healing after biopsy or surgery

  • Enhances quality of life

For Cancer Recurrence

  • Lowers the risk of cancer recurrence

For Second Cancers

  • Reduces the chance of developing lung cancer; head and neck cancer; esophageal, bladder or other cancers

  • Allows the immune system to focus on preventing cancer instead of coping with the effects of smoking.

  • Get a flu shot every year in the fall. Get a pneumococcal vaccine as recommended by your health care provider.

 

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