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Lung Cancer

What is Lung Cancer?

Lung cancer is one of the most common types of cancer worldwide and is a leading cause of cancer-related deaths. It occurs when cells in the lungs grow uncontrollably, forming tumors that can interfere with lung function and spread to other parts of the body.


There are two main types of lung cancer:


  1. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC): This is the most common type of lung cancer, accounting for about 85% of all cases. NSCLC includes several subtypes, such as adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and large cell carcinoma.

  2. Small cell lung cancer (SCLC): This type of lung cancer accounts for about 15% of all cases and tends to grow and spread more quickly than NSCLC. SCLC is often associated with a history of smoking.

Risk factors

  1. Smoking: Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, accounting for the majority of cases. The risk of developing lung cancer increases with the number of cigarettes smoked and the duration of smoking.

  2. Exposure to secondhand smoke: Breathing in other people's smoke increases the risk of lung cancer, even for nonsmokers.

  3. Exposure to carcinogens: Occupational exposure to carcinogens such as asbestos, radon, arsenic, and certain chemicals can increase the risk of lung cancer.

  4. Family history: Individuals with a family history of lung cancer may be at increased risk of developing the disease themselves.

  5. Personal history of lung disease: Chronic lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pulmonary fibrosis can increase the risk of lung cancer.


Symptoms of lung cancer include:

  • Persistent cough

  • Chest pain

  • Shortness of breath

  • Coughing up blood

  • Hoarseness

  • Weight loss

  • Fatigue

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Swelling in the face or neck

  • Recurrent respiratory infections

Treatment options

Treatment for lung cancer typically involves a combination of therapies, including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, and supportive care. The specific treatment approach depends on factors such as the type and stage of the cancer, the location and size of the tumor, and the overall health and preferences of the individual. Early detection and treatment are key to improving outcomes and increasing the chances of successful treatment for lung cancer.

Can exercise help?

Exercise can play a valuable role in managing lung cancer by:


  1. Improving physical fitness: Regular exercise, including aerobic exercise, strength training, and flexibility exercises, helps to improve cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, endurance, and flexibility, enhancing overall physical fitness and functional capacity in individuals with lung cancer. Improved physical fitness can help individuals tolerate cancer treatments better and recover more quickly from surgery and other interventions.

  2. Enhance treatment outcomes: Exercise has been shown to enhance the effectiveness of cancer treatments and improve treatment outcomes in individuals with lung cancer. Exercise can help to reduce treatment-related side effects such as fatigue, nausea, pain, and depression, and may improve adherence to treatment protocols, leading to better treatment outcomes and improved survival rates.

  3. Reduce treatment-related side effects: Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery can cause significant side effects such as fatigue, weakness, loss of muscle mass, nausea, pain, and depression. Regular exercise can help to mitigate these side effects by improving physical fitness, reducing fatigue, enhancing mood, and promoting overall well-being.

  4. Support immune function: Exercise has immune-boosting effects and can help to support immune function in individuals with lung cancer. Regular physical activity stimulates the production of immune cells, enhances immune surveillance, and reduces inflammation, promoting overall health and well-being and reducing the risk of infections and other complications.

  5. Promote healthy weight management: Regular exercise helps to maintain a healthy weight or achieve weight loss in individuals with lung cancer, which is important for reducing the risk of cancer recurrence, improving treatment outcomes, and enhancing overall health and well-being. Maintaining a healthy weight through regular physical activity may also reduce the risk of other chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

  6. Improve quality of life: Exercise has numerous benefits for quality of life in individuals with lung cancer, including reduced fatigue, improved mood, enhanced self-esteem, better sleep quality, and increased social support. Engaging in regular physical activity can help individuals cope with the physical and emotional challenges of cancer diagnosis and treatment and improve overall well-being and quality of life. 

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