Life goes on: six habits lung cancer patients need to adopt and quit

A cancer diagnosis can be incredibly daunting and understandably so. No matter the type or stage, panic is always associated with the subject in family members and patients alike. It may feel that your entire life has been turned upside down, and there’s no way to return to normal. The fear increases tenfold if you happen to have a lung cancer diagnosis. However, although cancer is a dangerous disease, you can manage it and make the appropriate lifestyle changes if detected early. When we think of cancer treatment, we usually imagine that medicinal therapies have the greatest efficacy. However, there are several things we can add or subtract from our everyday routines which can affect recovery immensely. Keep reading below if you’re interested in learning more about what habits you need to adopt or drop following a lung cancer diagnosis. 

Quit smoking 

This is easily one of the most apparent lifestyle changes you need to make if you encounter a lung cancer diagnosis. Cigarette smoke is chock full of thousands of incredibly toxic chemicals which can wreak havoc upon your lungs. Smoking is one of the leading causes of lung cancer, and smoking after a diagnosis is nothing less than fatal.  

If you’re diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may feel that you don’t need to give up smoking. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Although there are a few varieties, pleural mesothelioma is the most common and affects the lungs’ lining. Although smoking doesn’t cause mesothelioma, smoking when suffering from pleural mesothelioma can damage your lungs immensely and cut down your chances of recovery. If you’re struggling with an addiction, you can ask your healthcare provider to connect you with special programs to help you deal with your habit. 

Adopt a healthy diet 

Adopting a healthy diet is one of the best things you can do after a lung cancer diagnosis. There are various types of lung cancer, ranging from chest wall tumors, non-small cell tumors, carcinoid tumors, to mesothelioma. However, a healthy diet can improve recovery from each type. For example, a sugary, greasy diet low in nutrients and antioxidants can immensely reduce your chances of recovery. 

Research shows that adopting a diet rich in antioxidants can help immensely in cancer recovery and even help reduce the toxicity which comes with chemotherapy. Furthermore, a healthy diet can strengthen your body and immune system, making it easier for you to withstand the side effects of cancer treatment. Adopting a healthy diet doesn’t mean making too many drastic changes in your life. Instead, it can mean making some swaps for unhealthy foods. Reducing your sugar intake, consuming less processed foods and adding fresh fruits and vegetables can make a huge difference. 

Get some exercise

Subsequent to a lung cancer diagnosis, you might assume that physical exertion can do more harm than good to your body. Furthermore, cancer treatment can make you feel tired and weak, and it can seem as if physical activity is off the table for the time being. However, no matter what form of lung cancer you have, exercise can help immensely in your recovery. 

All forms of exercise target your lungs and help strengthen them. It can boost your endurance and stamina and can help fortify your lungs. Additionally, exercise also helps strengthen your body. As you build muscle mass and burn fat, you give your body a better chance of bearing the brunt of cancer treatment. Exercise can help you keep yourself mentally occupied too. The release of serotonin can help immensely in keeping your mood up even as you go through a challenging phase in life. 

Don’t head out too much 

Lung cancer treatment can be incredibly effective in targeting cancerous cells, but it can also target healthy cells at times. This can make your body feel much weaker than usual and reduce your body’s efficacy in warding off diseases. So, while undergoing cancer treatment, it may not be the best option to head out to places where you can contract any infectious diseases. 

Given the ongoing pandemic, your body can be much more vulnerable to infection. Staying indoors as much as possible can help you stay safe. Additionally, if you’re undergoing any treatment which requires special attention, such as radiotherapy, you may need to take additional precautions. For example, chlorine can irritate the skin as you undergo radiotherapy, with long-lasting repercussions if you’re not careful. 

Surround yourself with loved ones

For many, a lung cancer diagnosis can signal the start of an incredibly dark, isolating period in life. The situation can be stressful and painful and can make many feel as if they’ve come to the end of the road. So, it is common for over 50% of cancer patients to suffer from depression. It may feel natural to isolate yourself from your loved ones in this trying time, but doing so can hamper your progress immensely. 

Having a support system can help in your recovery. Having some extra support from friends or family will keep you hopeful and grounded. Your friends and family can also help handle any tasks you need help with, thus giving you more energy to focus on your recovery. Moreover, they can also help you with the financial and emotional burden during these testing times. 

Opt for supportive therapy 

Undergoing treatment for lung cancer can be grueling for your body. If you want to maintain your quality of life, opting for supportive therapy needs to become a habit. Supportive therapies can help you maintain your comfort, and regular treatments can help maintain your mobility and daily life functioning. 

Some popular supportive therapies for lung cancer patients include oxygen therapy and supportive devices such as walkers or canes. Moreover, you can also opt for speech therapy if cancer has affected your vocal cords or esophagus. 

Conclusion 

After a lung cancer diagnosis, the journey ahead can be scary, but you can make it through. Making some essential changes to your routine can help you have a better chance of healing and reduce your chances of a relapse. Quitting some habits and adopting healthier ones can give your body a better chance of fighting the disease, no matter how aggressive it may seem.