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Avoiding exposure to cancer-causing substances, such as cigarette smoke, is the most important lifestyle change for the management of lung cancer.

General Guidelines for Managing Lung Cancer
Avoid Exposure to Cancer-Causing Substances

Avoiding exposure to cancer-causing substances will decrease your risk of developing another cancerous tumor. Suggestions include:

  • Do not smoke. If you smoke, quit Your risk of lung cancer decreases markedly and by 15 years is equal to that of non-smokers.
  • Avoid places where people are smoking.
  • Test your home for radon gases and asbestos. If these substances are in your home, have them removed.
  • Use protective gear if you must work around asbestos or other occupational hazards.
Rehabilitation and Physical Support

Removal of part or all of a lung, as well as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, may produce difficulty with breathing and a decreased ability to manage everyday skills. As a result, you may need temporary, and sometimes long-term, assistance in these areas.

Depending on your lung capacity and status, you may need mobility assistance or portable oxygen, and you may qualify for a handicapped parking sticker to reduce the distance you must walk from your car into buildings. If lung cancer has affected the vocal cords, you may need speech therapy to improve swallowing or local injection of the vocal cords to improve voice quality.

Good nutrition and exercise (as tolerated) can also assist you in recovering from your lung cancer, as well as from the effects of treatment.

Emotional Support and Counseling

Counseling with a mental health professional can improve your coping strategies for dealing with the physical symptoms and emotional stress that often accompany cancer. Therapists can help you deal with losses associated with the disease, such as the inability to work and dependence on others for housekeeping or personal care.

Some people find joining a support group helpful.


Lung cancer (non-small cell). American Cancer Society website. Available at: Accessed September 17, 2014.

Learn about cancer (small cell). American Cancer Society website. Available at: Accessed September 17, 2014.

Lung cancer. American Lung Association website. Available at: Accessed September 17, 2014.

Lung cancer—for patients. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: Accessed September 17, 2014.

Last reviewed September 2015 by Mohei Abouzied, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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