Tips for Living with Lung Cancer

After the shock of a lung cancer diagnosis, you may have lots of questions about treatments, survival rates, and next steps. More people die from lung cancer than any other type of cancer, but the first thing you should know is that it’s highly treatable in its earliest stages. 

And that’s the hopeful message we want to get out in honor of Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

Our experienced thoracic specialists at Rockland Thoracic & Vascular Associates can be critical members of your medical team, whether you have the first signs of lung cancer or an advanced stage. 

We offer evidence-based treatments, including chemotherapy and radiation therapy, as well as surgical procedures, such as:

  • Lung resection to remove only the diseased portion of your lung
  • Lobectomy to remove a lobe from the lung
  • Thoracotomy, a large incision to access your lungs
  • Pneumonectomy to remove a lung

Whenever possible, we use minimally invasive video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) to minimize trauma, limit bleeding, and reduce healing time.

As you undergo treatment for lung cancer, there’s a lot you can do to support the process and increase your chances of survival. Here are some practical tips that can make it a little easier to live with lung cancer.

Know what you’re dealing with

If you or someone you love has lung cancer, now is the time to gather the facts. You probably know that smoking is the No. 1 cause of lung cancer, but did you know that you can get it even if you’ve never smoked? 

Get screened because the early symptoms are hard to spot. If you have small, early-stage lung cancer, the cure rate is up to 90%. And cancer research is constantly making new discoveries, so have hope. You’re not alone — more than 220,000 Americans get lung cancer every year.

The more informed you are about lung cancer, the better able you are to face it head on and fight it. Ask questions, do your own research, and work with a trusted team of medical experts.

Watch out for depression

It’s easy to get discouraged when you’re facing a life-threatening illness, and for about a third of people battling lung cancer, discouragement leads to depression. 

If you ignore signs of depression, it can have a huge impact on your treatment and prognosis. Studies show that lung cancer patients who seek treatment for their depression live longer than those who don’t.

Get spiritual

Believing in a higher power, understanding the meaning of life, and being at peace with the destination of your soul can make a big difference in your cancer treatment and the length of your life. 

Studies show that spirituality not only improves your quality of life as you fight cancer. It may help you respond more favorably to treatments like chemotherapy. So whether you go to church, meditate, practice yoga, or engage in some other form of spiritual mindfulness, it may be one of the most positive aspects of your treatment.

Eat well

To fight lung cancer, you have to be in fighting shape, and that starts with a healthy diet. When you nourish your body, you boost your immune system and support your treatments. 

Certain foods can actually help you fight cancer by affecting your cells’ functions. Click here to find out which foods to focus on when you have lung cancer. 

If you smoke, quit

Although not all cases of lung cancer stem from smoking, most of them do. If that’s true for you, quitting has never been more important than it is now. Some people mistakenly think: Smoking has already done its damage, what more can it do?

The answer is: It can end your life sooner than if you quit. 

Accept support

Now isn’t the time to be tough and independent. In addition to leaning on your family and friends, you may benefit from palliative care. 

If you think this is like hospice and only meant for people who are dying, think again. Palliative care is all about improving your quality of life. It may include physical therapy, emotional care, and social work services. 

You can also find valuable information and strategies from lung cancer support groups. You can join some remotely, such as social media support groups, and the American Lung Assoication’s Lung Cancer Patient Meetup On the Go, where you can attend webinars and other events. 

We can also help you find some local groups where you can share your story and hear about others’ successes. 

Lung cancer is scary, but it’s less worrisome when you’re fully informed and supported. To find out more, schedule a consultation with us today. Our offices are in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan, Pomona, Goshen, and Fishkill, New York, as well as Englewood, New Jersey.