Exercise after lung cancer surgery has been linked to increased muscle strength for patients, but research also suggests physical activity may help improve the quality of life with less shortness of breath compared to those who did not exercise following the procedure. The research, published in the Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews, looks at those diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who had a lung resection, a surgical removal of the tumor and a portion of the lung.
After studying the patients, researchers discovered that those with NSCLC who exercise after lung cancer surgery have better fitness levels and strength in their muscles, compared to those who weren’t active. The patients took part in aerobic exercise, resistance exercise, or a combination of both. Evidence pointed to a better quality of life and less breathlessness in those who exercised.
How Common is Lung Cancer?
Excluding skin cancer, the diagnosis of lung cancer, both small cell and non-small cell, is the second most common cancer in both men and women, according to the American Cancer Society. Only prostate cancer is more common in men and breast cancer in women.
This year alone, an estimated 228,150 new cases of lung cancer will be documented in the United States. Roughly 142,670 deaths will be attributed to the disease in 2019, making it the deadliest cancer in the country. The majority of those diagnosed with the disease are 65 years of age and older.
Likelihood of Getting Lung Cancer
Men have a slightly higher risk of developing lung cancer with a 1 in 15 chance. Women face a 1 in 17 risk. For smokers, that risk drastically increases.
- About 80 percent of lung cancer deaths are thought to result from smoking.
- Black men are about 20 percent more likely to develop lung cancer than white men.
- White women are about 10 percent more likely to develop lung cancer than black women.
An early diagnosis offers the best prognosis of lung cancer, with some patients eventually celebrating cancer-free milestones when the disease is spotted in an earlier stage.
Lung Cancer Treatment Options
The first step to developing a treatment plan for lung cancer is finding a cancer treatment center that understands your unique case and creates a custom treatment protocol to meet your needs. The Ackerman Cancer Center is dedicated to understanding your overall health while evaluating your stage of cancer to create the personalized lung cancer treatment approach you deserve.
Surgery to remove the cancer, which is often combined with other treatment methods, is frequently used for early stage NSCLC. Other treatment options for lung cancer can include proton therapy. Proton therapy is an advanced and precise form of radiation treatment for lung cancer. Patients who are able to be treated with proton therapy experience less side effects and it reduces the damage to healthy tissue and organs surrounding the tumor. This means patients are able to participate in exercise and other forms of physical activity that interests them.
Best Exercises After Lung Cancer Surgery
Finding the right exercises after lung cancer surgery will help restore your strength and can even improve your endurance. Always ask your doctor before stepping into a new level of activity after surgery, but some of the most common exercises include:
- Restorative breathing
- Light, upper body stretching
- Walking (aerobic exercise)
- Strength training
Exercise after lung cancer surgery has the power to strengthen your muscles and improve your quality of life with less breathlessness. As you explore treatment options for lung cancer or want to know more about becoming active post-surgery, contact the Ackerman Cancer Center, where we provide more than a medical facility. You experience a place of healing.