Having lung cancer can drastically affect your day to day life and impact both your physical and mental health in many ways. Living with this illness can present hurdles in all aspects of your life and make simple daily tasks a true challenge.
However, there are a number of healthy habits and lifestyle changes you can implement to ease your quality of life and minimise the impact of lung cancer and its treatments. It can also be a great way to turn what is a distressing and difficult time into something more positive.
Here are five things you can do to help relieve some of the symptoms and problems lung cancer can present.
- Quit smoking. If you’re a frequent smoker looking for a reason to quit – this is it. Smoking can increase the risk of complications and further exacerbate the painful symptoms of lung cancer by slowing down tissue healing and causing additional irritation to the lungs. Once you quit smoking, your body will immediately begin to heal again, improving lung and respiratory function. Other advantages include a stronger immune system and a decreased risk of chronic heart diseases.
- Exercise regularly. Your body will need all the support and care it can get whilst battling lung cancer. Regular yet moderate exercise can benefit you greatly both physically and mentally. It can help to reduce fatigue, improve muscle strength, boost your mood and also help to maintain a healthy weight. Always consult your doctor for advice first as certain exercises are not always appropriate for everyone.
- Eat well. Getting the right nutrition and eating well is of high importance for lung cancer patients. Ensuring your diet is rich in foods such as fruit, veg, lean protein, whole grains etc will help you to feel your best and consequently tolerate treatment and side effects better. Talk to your doctor if you have any dietary concerns or requirements for a specific nutrition plan.
- Manage side effects. Lung cancer treatment and medication causes common side effects such as breathlessness, pain or even a continuous cough. However, some people may develop different side effects as the illness upsets the body’s chemical balance. Notify your doctor if this occurs as they will be able to give advice on how to manage and control symptoms, or even refer you to symptom control experts – otherwise known as pallative care experts.
- Seek support. Living with lung cancer can be troubling both physically and mentally, so ensuring you have as much support around you is important. Addressing your physical and emotional needs is essential, so reach out to loved ones or speak to your doctor about potentially seeing a counsellor or joining a support group. Knowing and communicating with people who understand what you’re going through can be hugely comforting.
There’s a number of steps you can take and habits to pick up that will make your battle with lung cancer less painful and unsettling. The most important thing to do is to take each day at a time and listen to your body, as you’re in the best position to determine what you need.
Cancer care at Ramsay Health Care
If you’re looking for additional support or want to find out more, read more about cancer care and treatments at Ramsay, or get in touch with us if you have any questions or would like to book an appointment with one of our specialists.