Lung Cancer Treatment Options
When it comes to cancer, nothing is more frightening and intimidating than trying to find the right treatment options. There are a number of different options where it comes to treatment for lung cancer and selecting the right treatment is key to your success. But treatment is not the ONLY key to success. In fact, the truth is that most people don’t realize that the treatment they choose, whether its chemotherapy or an alternative approach, is often be only a small portion of what is really needed to beat the disease.
The other keys to success include sleep, nutrition and inflammation to name a few. And yes we all “know” that sleep is important but as a cancer patient, few people are aware of just how important this factor really is. You see, sleep – for a cancer patient – is not just a “nice to have.” In studies, researchers found that sleep actually has the potential to change the cancer itself.
How Sleep affects Lung Cancer Treatment Options
In one study, researchers studied two groups of mice. Both groups were given the same strain of cancer, but one group were allowed to sleep properly. The other group were constantly disturbed. In other words they suffered from insomnia.
The results were shocking and extremely important for all cancer patients including those with lung cancer because the research revealed that insomnia:
- Made tumors change to more aggressive tumors
- Made the tumors grow twice as a fast
- Made the tumors spread further and spread faster
So insomnia for a cancer patient is not merely a question of health. It could actually be the factor that determines whether your lung treatment options and choices are successful or whether they fail. It could be a factor that marks the line between life and death.
And this is not the only research on the importance of sleep in cancer care. In another study on 412 breast cancer patients, researchers found:
- Lack of sleep found to be a new risk factor for aggressive breast cancers
- They also had a higher percentage of recurrence
There was also a study on men that found that men who had trouble sleeping were twice as likely to develop prostate cancer compared to those who slept well.
Sleep and Lung Cancer Treatment Options
So irrespective of whether you’ve chosen chemo or B17, sleep plays a vital role:
- How fast cancer developed
- How quick it grows
- How dangerous it is
- How quick it spreads.
The problem with sleep and lung cancer treatment options
The alarming thing is that some lung cancer treatment options like chemotherapy for example actually cause sleep disturbances as a side effect of the treatment itself. This is why it is especially important for lung cancer and cancer patients in general to make sure they have strategies in place to make sure they get a good night’s rest. And by a good night’s rest, it includes both the quality of the sleep you get and the quantity.
Getting enough sleep – or quantity means getting at least seven hours a night. BUt its no good getting seven hours of bad quality sleep. So there are actually two factors that are important where it comes to sleep – quality and quantity.
So let’s take a look at the factors that determine both quantity of sleep and quality.
Quantity of Sleep and Cancer
You melatonin levels determine how quickly you fall asleep and how long you stay asleep. Melatonin is a natural substance that your body makes to help you sleep and to maintain healthy circadian rhythms. Your immune system is also dependent on getting enough sleep to function properly. This makes sense since the immune system helps you to fight cancer and if the immune system is depleted, you are more likely to develop cancer.
You melatonin levels are determined by a number of different factors including how much daylight you are exposed to, whether you sleep in a dark bedroom and how much exercise you get. You can take melatonin as a supplement too, but natural levels of melatonin are easy to maintain. For cancer patients melatonin levels are extremely important.
In one study on 643 cancer patients, good levels of melatonin actually decreased death rate at the one year mark.
But as mentioned above, getting enough sleep is only half of the picture. You also need to get good sleep.
Quality of Sleep and Cancer
Quality of sleep depends on different hormones within the body like serotonin. And to produce serotonin the body needs tryptophan. Tryptohpan comes from our diet. Foods that are high in tryptophan include cocoa. And strangely enough dairy products like milk allow the body to use tryptophan.
So your grandmother was right all along. There is actually scientific basis for having a cup of hot cocoa before bed. The tryptophan in the cocoa along with the compounds in milk will actually help you sleep better and increase the quality of the sleep you get!
While its nice to know all of these scientific details, it’s not essential to remember the names or chemicals involved. But it is obviously extremely important to get enough sleep and high quality sleep as a cancer patient. As you can see from the studies above. sleep can change the outcome of your lung cancer treatment – irrespective of what treatment you chose.
So how you make sure you get enough sleep?
- Make sure you get enough sunlight each day
- Make sure you sleep in very dark room
- Switch off your mobile phones, laptops and other items that give off ambient light
- Take up exercise like Yoga – it increases both quantity and quality of sleep and yoga has a number of other benefits for cancer patients
- Have a cup of cocoa before bed everyday to boost tryptophan levels
- Get help if your treatment options are interfering with your sleep