Oxygen therapy for lung cancer

Oxygen therapy increases the amount of oxygen that flows into your lungs and your bloodstream. Oxygen may increase comfort for people who have lung cancer, but it does not treat the cancer.

Oxygen delivery systems

  • Concentrators, which take oxygen from the air, are the least expensive machines, but they need electricity to operate and are fairly heavy, about 30 lb (13.61 kg). This makes them difficult to carry with you when you leave your house.
  • Tanks (cylinders) of oxygen gas come in several sizes. The largest are too heavy to move around. Smaller tanks can be carried and provide about 5 hours of oxygen.
  • Tanks of liquid oxygen are more costly than tanks of oxygen gas, but they weigh less, contain more oxygen, and are more convenient to use. But liquid oxygen is more dangerous.

Oxygen can be given using a nasal cannula or a face mask.

  • The nasal cannula gives the greatest freedom for moving around and talking but can cause dryness in the nose.
  • A face mask may get in the way of talking and eating.

Selecting the type of oxygen supply should be based on your ability to move around. Homebound people may find an oxygen concentrator easy to use and less expensive.

People using oxygen therapy should not smoke.

Smoking while using oxygen can lead to fire and even explosion. You and others in the area could have severe burns. Do not smoke while using oxygen, and do not allow any smoking near a person using oxygen.

Last Updated: June 4, 2008

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