Staying active, getting around
There are many resources for people with lung cancer to create a “new normal” lifestyle or return to activities they enjoyed before treatment. During cancer treatment some patients may not have engaged in wellness programs because of their schedule or limitations due to their treatment experience. These programs are always available no matter when people with lung cancer can participate.
Oxygen therapy may be an option for many people with lung cancer. Oxygen can help reduce breathing difficulties and in turn, fatigue. By increasing energy, those with lung cancer can explore more opportunities for wellness and palliative care services. Speak with your healthcare team about this option and whether it is an appropriate therapy for you.
The three types of oxygen systems currently available are:
- Compressed gas systems: Small tanks of oxygen gas under pressure that can be carried
- Portable oxygen concentrators (POCs): Using battery or electricity from an outlet, a POC uses the air around you
- Liquid oxygen systems: In a portable tank for you to carry or pull, this device uses low temperature gas
Wondering about how you can travel while taking in oxygen?
No matter how you travel, it’s best to call ahead and ask about oxygen device rules as well as have access to your oxygen prescription paperwork. Here are some helpful facts depending on how you need to get around:
Air: You can only use an FAA-approved portable oxygen concentrator (POC) on airplanes. By contacting the airline, you can plan ahead of time for any fees or paperwork that is needed before you travel.
Car: Use the floor on the seat beside you as your space for the oxygen unit. If you can place it in a seat next to you, make sure it is upright and secured with a seat belt. When you are driving with your oxygen device, leave the windows down a little so air can circulate. It is dangerous to leave oxygen units in a hot car.
Train/bus: Local bus and train offices will ask for your information at least three days before you depart. There are certain train lines that require you to bring your own power source, so it’s best to speak with the station staff ahead of time to be prepared.
Cruise: Although some people prefer to travel on cruises specifically for people who use oxygen, they may not always be available. In general, cruise lines require four- to six-weeks’ notice about your oxygen needs. Your oxygen supplier company will be able to assist you in planning for visits to ports of call.