As a never smoker, I didn’t think it was possible to get lung cancer. I certainly didn’t think the dry cough that didn’t go away,…
Understand your Diagnosis
It is important to understand your diagnosis. You will probably have many questions and may not know where to begin or what questions to ask. Try to get as much information about your diagnosis as you can in order to make decisions with your doctor about your care. Lung Foundation Australia offers a range of free services and resources to help you better understand and cope with your diagnosis.
Lung Cancer Support Nurse
As well as talking to your treating healthcare team, you can access Lung Foundation Australia’s free Lung Cancer Support Nurse telephone-based service. This service is available for patients, their families and carers at any stage of their lung cancer journey. The Lung Cancer Support Nurse is a highly experienced oncology nurse who can provide evidence-based information regarding diagnosis, treatment, symptom management and well-being, in addition to guidance about relevant support services.
Respiratory Care Nurse
We also offer people living with COPD or bronchiectasis access to a free Respiratory Care Nurse telephone service. Our skilled nurse can provide guidance on all aspects of your condition according to the management guidelines and aims to connect you with the information and support to live well with your lung condition. Self-management support plays an important role in providing people with the skills and knowledge to self-manage their condition. The service offers three telephone appointments over a few months to ensure you receive the support you need.
The range of emotions brought about by a lung disease or lung cancer diagnosis may affect your overall wellbeing. Peer support can become an integral and helpful part of your life enabling you to talk with others who are experiencing a similar situation as you. Lung Foundation Australia offers a comprehensive program of Peer Support including access to Peer Support Groups which meet face to face on a regular basis. Telephone support is also available via our Lung Cancer Telephone Support Groups and the Peer Connect program for people living with Pulmonary Fibrosis.
Research has shown that exercising is highly beneficial for people living with a chronic lung disease. It is widely recognised that regular exercise helps maintain your fitness, improves your wellbeing, reduces symptoms such as breathlessness and helps with managing depression and anxiety. People who exercise regularly can reduce their need for hospital admission.
The thought of exercising may sound daunting, but there is evidence to show the effectiveness of exercise in people with different lung conditions, including COPD, bronchiectasis, interstitial lung disease and lung cancer. Before starting a program, it is important to speak to your doctor to ensure you are medically fit to exercise and talk with a health professional such as a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist. These Allied Health professional are equipped with the knowledge, skills and competencies to design, deliver and evaluate safe and effective exercise interventions for people with a chronic medical condition.
A webinar is an interactive online presentation held over the internet with multiple people participating at the same time. You can join the webinars live from the comfort of your own home or access a recording after the event.
Webinars also provide an opportunity for participants to ask questions to the expert speakers in real time, increasing the value you will get out of your participation. This can be very beneficial for people located in a rural or remote areas, or isolated due to their condition, where access to education and support can be challenging.
Lung Foundation Australia has developed an online webinar series called “Live Well Breathe Better” covering a number of lung disease areas. The webinars are delivered by experienced health professionals and patients and provide information, advice and support on living with a lung disease.
Look after your mental health
Self-care and wellbeing
Self-care is about undertaking any activity that can help with your physical, emotional and mental health. It’s a regular commitment to looking after yourself through helpful activities that can help to protect your wellbeing. Paying attention to what is happening to yourself both physically and emotionally can help to identify when something is affecting you adversely.
Find activities to bring you joy
Try to maintain your hobbies, even if you have to adjust the way you do them. Think about what has helped you cope with difficult moments in the past. If you feel like watching a children’s movie that brought you joy when you were a child or one that your children or grandchildren enjoy now, go ahead and watch it. Surround yourself with people and things that bring you joy, and seek out experiences that make you feel awe as much as possible. You may also want to try colouring, meditation, reading, deep breathing, knitting, learning an instrument, or taking an art or cooking class. Working with your hands can distract the emotional part of your brain.
Debra Sandford, Clinical Psychologist, The University of Adelaide A diagnosis of Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF) is just the beginning of what can be a very emotional…
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