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Boost Your Nutrition

There's no special diet that treats lung cancer. But eating well can help you feel your best. Focus on veggies, fruits, lean proteins, and whole grains. Stay away from processed foods or choices that are high in sugar or fat. If your treatment affects your taste, smell, or appetite, a nutritionist can help you find ways to keep your calories up.

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Stay Hydrated

Everyone needs water to be healthy. Drinking plenty of it, or broth, or other healthy fluids can help make the side effects from your treatment less severe. Add fresh fruit to your water if you need more flavor. Keep a reusable bottle with you during the day. You might even want to set a timer to go off every so often so you know when to drink.

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Move Your Body

If you’re having trouble breathing, exercise may feel like a challenge. But physical activity -- even light movement -- can boost your mood, help you feel less tired, strengthen your heart and muscles, and lower your chance of secondary cancers. Talk to your doctor about how you can get moving safely. Then work it into your day-to-day routine so you can reap the benefits.

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Ask About Pain

Pain can affect your quality of life in a big way. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with your doctor if you have discomfort. There may be medications or other tools that can bring you relief and make your everyday life better.

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Try Yoga

Yoga is low-impact and gentle. It also helps you improve your breathing. You can do it while you’re going through radiation or chemotherapy, and beyond. There are plenty of online options if a class isn’t in your budget or schedule.

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Meditation helps you focus on the moment. Choose a quiet place to sit and observe your body and thoughts. It can help you ease feelings of anxiety and worry. The key is not to judge how you feel. Simply notice your emotions as you gently guide your thoughts back to your breathing.

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Do What You Love

Dealing with cancer doesn’t have to mean cutting fun out. Laughter and feelings of joy help ease stress. Watch your favorite TV show, spend time with people you enjoy, or get reacquainted with your favorite hobby.

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Explore Palliative Care

Palliative care doesn’t mean end-of-life care. Your team can help get you the resources and support you need to ease the physical and emotional symptoms you feel. They can also help you better understand your condition and treatments.

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Build Support

You don’t have to go through this alone. Talk to friends, family, or a therapist about what you’re going through. Ask for help with chores, errands, and meals. Bring a loved one with you to appointments. There are also support groups online or in person that can connect you to others dealing with lung cancer.

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Check In With Yourself

Cancer brings with it many emotions. There’s no right or wrong way to feel. But you can cope with whatever you're feeling if you express it. Letting out your anger, sadness, or fear can be a way to let go of it.

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Listen to your body, and take it easy when it tells you to. Rest helps you fight fatigue. Don’t overload your schedule. Leave space in your day to nap or just sit. Strike a healthy balance between rest and activity.

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Try Deep Breathing

Spend some time each day focusing on your breath. Sit with your eyes closed, and take in air slowly through your nose. Exhale through your mouth. Tune in to any muscles you’re holding tight as you breathe. Squeeze them harder for a second, then release.

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 11/19/2022 Reviewed by Gabriela Pichardo, MD on November 19, 2022


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American Lung Association: “Nutrition and Lung Cancer Treatment,” “Supportive (Palliative) Care for Lung Cancer,” “Feelings and Cancer.”

MD Anderson Cancer Center: “Cancer treatment side effect: Dehydration.” “Hydration: Why It’s So Important.”

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute: “Exercising with lung cancer.”

Mayo Clinic: “Cancer pain: Relief is possible.”

Oncology Times: “Yoga Benefits Lung Cancer Patients & Their Caregivers.” “Relaxation Techniques and Mind/Body Practices: How They Can Help You Cope With Cancer.”

Cancer.Net: “Managing Stress.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “5 Healthy Habits That Help You During Lung Cancer Treatment.”

National Cancer Institute: “Feelings and Cancer,” “Learning to Relax.”

Reviewed by Gabriela Pichardo, MD on November 19, 2022

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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