Lifestyle Changes to Manage Lung Cancer
Avoiding exposure to cancer-causing substances, such as cigarette smoke, is the most important lifestyle change for the management of lung cancer.
General Guidelines for Managing Lung Cancer
Avoid Exposure to Cancer-Causing Substances
Avoiding exposure to cancer-causing substances will decrease your risk of developing another cancerous tumor. Suggestions include:
- Do not smoke. If you smoke, quit. Your risk of lung cancer decreases markedly and by 15 years is equal to that of non-smokers.
- Avoid places where people are smoking.
- Test your home for radon gases and asbestos. If these substances are in your home, have them removed.
- Use protective gear if you must work around asbestos or other occupational hazards.
Rehabilitation and Physical Support
Removal of part or all of a lung, as well as chemotherapy and radiation to the lung, may produce difficulty in breathing and a decreased ability to manage everyday skills. As a result, you may need temporary, and sometimes long-term, assistance in these areas.
Depending on your lung capacity and status, you may need mobility assistance or portable oxygen, and you may qualify for a handicapped parking sticker to reduce the distance you must walk from your car into buildings. If your lung cancer has affected your vocal cords, you may need speech therapy to improve swallowing or local injection of the vocal cords to improve voice quality.
Good nutrition and exercise (as tolerated) can also assist you in recovering from your lung cancer, as well as from the effects of treatment.
Emotional Support and Counseling
Counseling with a mental health professional can improve your coping strategies for dealing with the physical symptoms and emotional stress that often accompany cancer. Therapists can help you deal with losses associated with the disease, such as the inability to work and dependence on others for housekeeping or personal care.
Some patients find attending a support group helpful, as well.
Last reviewedSeptember 2013by Igor Puzanov, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.