You may experience symptoms from your cancer or your cancer treatments. Be sure to tell your cancer treatment team about any symptoms you are experiencing so they can determine if supportive or palliative care is appropriate. In most cases, these symptoms can be controlled with medications, exercises or other therapies to help you feel better and continue with your daily life. Remember:
Ask your oncology nurse, nurse practitioner, physician assistant or doctor to talk with you about how these or other methods may help you manage symptoms of your cancer or side effects of your treatments.
Possible Symptom or Side Effect
|Pain||Take pain medications as prescribed.
Both long-acting and short-acting pain medications are available. To be most effective, long-acting pain medications need to be taken before you feel the pain and are used on an ongoing basis to prevent and control pain. Short-acting medications can be used for immediate relief.
|Shortness of breath||
Use inhalers or other medications to open up airways or reduce swelling.
Use portable oxygen when directed by your doctor.
|Severe sore throat||Take pain medications or other medications before eating or as prescribed.
Eat soft, cool foods; avoid citrus and acidic foods, and carbonated or caffeinated drinks.
|Skin rash/redness/peeling/itching||Moisturize skin before, during and after therapy as recommended.
Wear loose-fitting clothes.
Stay out of the sun. Use sunscreen when you go outside.
Use hydrocortisone or antibiotic creams and/or oral antibiotics as prescribed.
|Fatigue/tiredness||Be kind to yourself. Rest when you need to and don’t take on additional activities.
Eat a healthy diet to ensure proper nutrition.
Have your red blood cell levels checked. If they are very low, you may need a transfusion.
Keep a regular exercise routine. Even light walking can help.
|Nausea/vomiting||Take anti-nausea medications as prescribed. These are usually most effective when taken before, during and after therapy.
Eat small meals throughout the day.
|Hair loss||Plan for hair loss by getting a haircut, wigs, hats or scarves.|
|Weaker immunie system||Wash your hands often and avoid being around people who are sick.|
|Numbness or tingling of hands/feet||Avoid snug socks and shoes.
Exercise if you are able, including walking and other light activities.
Dress appropriately, especially for cold weather.
|Diarrhea||Drink plenty of non-caffeinated fluids.
Take anti-diarrhea medications as prescribed.
|Constipation||Take stool softeners or laxatives as prescribed.
Eat fruits, vegetables and other high-fiber foods and drink plenty of fluids.
|Weight loss||Work with a nutritionist/dietician to create a meal plan
Avoid heavy and high protein meals prior to treatment.
|Chronic cough||Your doctor may recommend treatment to address airway invasion from the cancer.
Take medications as prescribed.
View our webinar, "Life with Lung Cancer: How Nutrition and Exercise Affect Outcomes," which reiterates the importance of a healthy lifestyle among cancer patients and survivors in order to improve outcomes of people with lung cancer.
View or download the individual presentations:
Nutrition and Lung Cancer by Jennifer Wolfshohl, RD, CSO, LD
Physical Activity and Lung Cancer by Anna L. Schwartz, PhD, FNP-BC, FAAN
The Personalized Care Plan is a guide for every lung cancer patient, no matter where their journey takes them. Use this resource to record information on your diagnosis, track treatments and appointments, monitor symptoms and more.
This information is not designed to be a substitute for medical advice provided by your treatment team.
Last updated 7/2015.
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