Depending on what type of lung cancer you have, and what stage it is, you may have a number of treatment options available to you.
It may be difficult to decide on the right treatment for you and there are many things you may wish to consider. Waiting for your test results to come in and for treatment to begin can also be a difficult time. You may feel that everything is happening so fast that you don’t have time to properly think things through. Some people can feel overwhelmed by the amount of information they are given, while others want as much information as they can find. Either way, making sure you understand enough about your illness, the treatment options available to you, as well as the side effects will help you make an informed decision.
If you are offered a choice of treatments, you will need to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of each. You may want to consider how any side effects will impact your lifestyle. It may help to talk to a lung cancer nurse, a hospital social worker, family member or friends for guidance and support in making your decision.
Sometimes, due to the type or stage of your lung cancer, only one type of treatment is recommended. Ask your doctor to explain why other treatment choices have not been offered.
Some people with more advanced lung cancer will choose treatment, even if it offers only a small chance of a cure as it will help to make them feel as well as possible for as long as possible. Others may choose not to have treatment if the side effects outweigh the benefits, so they retain the best possible quality of life.
Talking with your doctors
As learning you have lung cancer is a very stressful and emotional time, you may not remember many of the details your doctor tells you. You may want to speak to your doctor several times to make sure you understand everything before deciding on treatment. If your doctor uses medical terms you don’t understand, it’s okay to ask for a simpler explanation.
Asking for a second opinion
For some people, it’s important to speak to more than one doctor regarding their diagnosis and recommended treatment plan. You can get a second opinion even if you have started treatment or still want to be treated by your first doctor. Ultimately, it is your decision which specialist’s opinion you feel is right for you.
Accessing palliative care
Some people with advanced cancer decide to stop treatment and have palliative care only. Palliative care isn’t just about end of life care, it enables you to have the best quality of life by identifying physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs. It is offered to people at any age living with a serious illness that cannot be cured. This is a personal decision that you need to determine and work through with your family and health professional team.