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One lung
One lung
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You need at least one lung to breathe, but the other can be removed to treat lung cancer, tuberculosis, or other lung diseases. Breathing is harder but still possible when one of the organs is removed; patients lose about 35 per cent of the volume of air they can exhale in a second, according to a study in the journal Respiratory Care. “The lung is a fixed cavity in the chest, so it can’t really get bigger,” says Dr Julie Heimbach, a transplant surgeon and surgical director of liver transplantation at Mayo Clinic.

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