Posted by Samantha Powell on April 26th, 2013 | No comments

woman who has chest pain

Breathing Exercises Improve Life after Lung Cancer Surgery

By Lynne Eldridge MD, GuideApril 26, 2013

It’s pretty much taken for granted that people will have rehab after some health conditions. Take strokes and knee replacements for example. There are few physicians who would simply send a patient home after a stroke or major orthopedic surgery without plans to maximize function.

But that’s not always the case with cancer. And – not unlike therapy for strokes and knee replacements – therapy after lung cancer surgery can make a big difference.

Several studies have demonstrated that breathing exercises benefit people who have had lung cancer surgery, so researchers combined these results to get the big picture.

What did they find?

Lung cancer patients who had surgery and were taught breathing exercises fared much better from a quality of life standpoint, than those who had surgery alone.

Benefits of breathing exercises included:

  • Improved lung function
  • Ability to do self care
  • More participation in social activities
  • Fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety

Bottom line?

If you’ve had (or are having) surgery for lung cancer, talk to your doctor about pulmonary rehabilitation to learn breathing exercises. In addition to improving your lung function, it could make a big difference in your quality of life as well.



Liu, W. et al. Breathing exercises improve post-operative pulmonary function and quality of life in patients with lung cancer: A meta-analysis. Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine. 2012. 5(4):1194-1200.


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