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Lung Cancer Info

Dealing With a Diagnosis

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There isn’t one best or easiest way to live with a diagnosis of lung cancer. Here are some suggestions for ways you can live well and take positive steps to deal with your diagnosis and treatment.

Advocate for yourself

Talk with your doctors and nurses. Ask questions. Ask them to repeat things you don’t understand. Repeat back to them what you think you heard and ask them to confirm that you understand. Be active in your care and choices. Use a notebook to keep track of questions you have and information about your health and disease, such as your latest test results, medical reports and notes. Bring a family member or friend with you to all appointments so you can confirm the information you hear from your doctors.

Don't let anyone steal your hope

Even the experts don’t understand everything about lung cancer, especially concerning how each person will respond to treatment. Ignore the statistics. They tell you nothing about what is going to happen to you. Find doctors who share your hope for survival and are willing to fight alongside you.

Let family and friends help

When your cancer was diagnosed, your family and other loved ones likely began their own personal journeys with lung cancer. They are dealing with their own sadness, fears and worries. One way for them to handle their feelings is to try to take care of you. If possible, allow them to help you. It is part of their healing process as well as yours.

When it comes to family and friends, be sure to:

  • Surround yourself with positive and encouraging people.
  • Take someone along to doctor visits to help listen or take notes.
  • Accept offers for help. When people ask, “What can I do?”, it is because they truly want to “do” something. Allow them the pleasure and privilege of helping you. They can cook for you, bring you flowers, play cards, or do whatever you can think of that will help you with your lung cancer journey.
  • Continue with the community activities you can, such as book clubs, community groups, etc., to keep your life as “normal” as possible, and let your friends know what you are going through. Sharing information, involving friends in your life, and spreading awareness can help you on your journey with lung cancer.

Find a support group

Support groups offer a chance to talk with others going through situations similar to yours, yet some people are not comfortable seeking out support groups because they feel guilty about a lung cancer diagnosis. If you have smoked and you feel it is your own “fault” that you got lung cancer, a support group may be an especially important and helpful step in your lung cancer journey. Remember that no one deserves lung cancer, and everyone deserves appropriate treatment. Even if there is no support group near you, multiple resources are available online and via telephone. See our resources listing for more information about available support services, and read Stories of Strength to learn how others navigate their journeys with lung cancer.

You may go to your first support group meetings seeking encouragement and hope for yourself, only to find that you have the power to give that same encouragement and hope to someone else. Many kinds of support are available, and some can also help your family and loved ones who are affected by your illness. Many people continue to find comfort from support groups even after their treatment has ended.

Join a community

Come together with survivors, family, friends and loved ones at a local run-walk, bike ride, yogathon or other Free to Breathe event. You'll be welcomed by a community driven to improve lung cancer survival and support everyone affected by this disease.

Personalized Care PlanThe 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.

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This information is not designed to be a substitute for medical advice provided by your treatment team.
Last updated 2/2014

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