Staying Healthy with Lung Cancer
You can make choices about your lifestyle that will help you feel better physically and emotionally. Your health needs will change over time but protecting your lungs, eating right, exercising and managing your stress should always be priorities.
Here are three ways to stay healthy when you are facing lung cancer:
1. Protect Your Lungs
Make sure your lungs aren't being stressed any more than they need to be. Check your home for radon. If you smoke, quit smoking. Avoid secondhand smoke and going outside when the air quality is poor. Ask people not to smoke near you at work and at home. Avoid social activities that will expose you to secondhand smoke. Quitting smoking makes a positive difference in your risk for lung cancer and ability to heal after lung cancer treatment. Get expert advice on how to stop smoking.
2. Take Care of Your Body
Your body needs all the support it can get so you can heal properly and fight lung cancer. Being mindful of the following will help you care for your body during and after lung cancer treatment:
- Stay up to date on your vaccinations and ask those around you to do the same. The flu shot (not the nasal spray) is recommended for people with cancer, regardless of whether or not they are in treatment. Ask your doctor about what other vaccinations are safe for you to get during treatment.
- Stress can weaken your immune system and take other tolls on your body. Using lung cancer support resources and some complementary medicine treatments can help reduce stress. Talk with your lung cancer care team about ways to cope with the stress of lung cancer.
- Conserving energy can help you fight fatigue. Make sure you get the appropriate amount of rest, not too much or too little. Planning ahead, spacing tasks out and asking for help also will help you feel less tired.
- Nutrition can make a big difference in how you feel.
- Physical activity will help you feel better physically and mentally. Even small amounts of activity can help.
3. Use Your Support System
Friends, family and healthcare professionals are invaluable resources during this time. Most people you know want to help, they just don't know how. Don't be afraid to ask for support from those around you. Always talk openly with your healthcare team. Here are some people and places that may be able to offer support:
- Faith-based groups
- Social Clubs
- Free American Lung Association HelpLine 1-800-LUNGUSA or 1-800-586-4872
- Free online support groups like the Lung Association's Lung Cancer Survivors Community on Inspire.com
- Free caregiving coordination services.
You might think about seeing healthcare professionals you may have never seen before, including social workers, psychologists or counselors. These people can help you deal with stress, depression and anxiety that may arise as a result of facing lung cancer.
Take one step today to keep yourself healthy. It might be trying to eat better, going for a walk or even taking some quiet time to de-stress.
Reviewed and approved by the American Lung Association Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel. Last reviewed November 26, 2017.
Page Last Updated: November 14, 2018