Lung cancer is a major cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Find out tips to improve lung cancer survival through a number of effective ways like social support, palliative care, knowing symptoms of depression, eating healthy, being physically active, and avoiding smoking and pollutants.
Despite numerous efforts to bring down the death rate, improvement in long-term survival has been limited and lung cancer is still a devastating disease. The survival rate of lung cancer could be strongly improved without surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy. There are plenty of natural and non-medical things such as support from friends and family in order to help cancer patients improve their odds. Even if these tips do not improve a person’s survival, they may improve the quality of life they are living today. All patients, regardless of cancer type and activity level, should engage in other activities where they can find due support and improve their overall being. Based on health and treatment schedule, one can fight fatigue, stay active, and improve their overall strength and fitness. Good nutrition, regular exercise, and other stress relieving activities can deal with the effects of cancer during and after its treatment.
Given below is a list of healthy habits that can help support wellness and improve lung cancer survival:
1. Finding Social Support
It is important to address patient’s mental health and emotional needs.The presence of a social circle or a strong support system from family and friends may actually improve survival with lung cancer. Although a recent study suggests that patients undergoing surgery for lung cancer did not appear to fare better or worse if they had good social support patients who had a stronger social relationship had a 50 percent increased likelihood of survival. Another study revealed that patients who had high levels of perceived social support were linked with a 20 percent lower relative risk of death.
2. Know the Symptoms of Depression
Most of the doctors have come to the conclusion that psychological distress, such as depression and anxiety is a great predictor of survival for people with cancer especially among people living with lung cancer.
People with advanced lung cancer or those patients who were depressed while receiving their first chemotherapy treatment, lived only half from their expected years as compared to those who were not depressed. In another study, median survival was four times shorter in people who were depressed. The risk of suicide is also much higher among people with cancer than the general population. It is good to talk to a doctor or family members and friends if one feels depressed.
3. Ask for a Palliative Care Support Visit
The term palliative care is an approach that seeks to improve the quality of life for people experiencing a serious medical condition, by addressing emotional, physical as well as spiritual needs and concerns. In a palliative care support visit, usually, people meet with a team that includes a physician, a nurse, and a social worker, to address the full spectrum of concerns one may have during the cancer treatment. According to a recent study, people with advanced lung cancer who had a palliative care consult following their diagnosis survived on an average 2½ months longer than those who did not have a consult. Most of the cancer centers are now routinely providing a palliative care consult early after a diagnosis of cancer. It might be worth asking an oncologist about what is available at that particular cancer center.
4. Nurturing Spiritual Life
An active spiritual life can play a significant role in lung cancer survival. Spirituality is an individual's belief and it has a different meaning for different people. It can be represented by different people through meditation, yoga or communing with nature. People who are an active participant in the spiritual world or those with Stage IV lung cancer had a better response to chemotherapy and survived for a greater length of time as compared to those who were lesser active. Even if an active spiritual life does not improve survival, researchers have found that spirituality is important for coping with cancer and quality of life while living with cancer.
5. Get Past the Stigma
Most people with lung cancer are too familiar with the stigma of the disease because people often give insensitive remarks which can be quiet stressful especially when one is trying to cope with the rigors of treatment. At times, the stigma of lung cancer has actually kept some people from getting the care and affection they need and deserve.
6. Eat a Healthy Diet-Fruits and Vegetables
Eating a healthy diet not only makes a person feel better, but it may also lower the chances of cancer recurring. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, it has been found that 30 to 40 percent of lung cancer cases can be prevented based on moderate exercise and a healthy diet. Try to eat specific foods, which are known to lower the risk of lung cancer and improve your overall health. Eating plenty of green vegetables and drinking lots of water is the key to a healthy body and sound mind.
7. Get a Little Exercise
Regular exercise is one of the most important things one can do in order to improve the health of lungs. When a person exercises, oxygen fuels up the muscles and lungs get active to deliver that oxygen while expelling additional carbon dioxide. Physical activity is proven to play a role in lung cancer prevention and lowering the likelihood of premature death. The more you exercise, the more you create strong and healthy lungs to resist symptoms of aging and other related abnormalities and diseases.
8. Quit Smoking
Smoking causes 90 percent of lung cancer deaths in both men and women all around the world. It is not only associated with lung cancer but also it increases the risks of asthma, COPD and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. If a person continues to smoke even after a diagnosis of lung cancer, it can straightaway mean lower survival chances. In the past, studies suggested that smokers are 10 to 20 times more likely to die from COPD than non- smokers. Those who quit smoking after a treatment of lung cancer do better with surgery and respond better to radiation therapy.
9. Avoid Exposure to Pollutants
Avoid exposure to harmful air pollutants because they are known to damage the lungs and increase aging. Reduce exposure to the following:
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