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| 9/11/2021

Life After a Lung Cancer Diagnosis

Getting a lung cancer diagnosis can be a shocking and a difficult thing to deal with. It may not come as a complete surprise if you’ve been dealing with the symptoms of lung cancer, but it’s still a lot to process.

You’ll naturally have many questions and concerns in the meeting with your doctor, or you may need time to think about things before you come up with questions.

When you’re ready to think about what happens after a diagnosis, we’ve got some general advice on what might happen and what your options could be.

Getting a lung cancer diagnosis

What happens after the initial diagnosis really depends on the stage of the lung cancer. If it’s been caught in the early stages, then you’ll likely be offered a range of treatments to cure or control the cancer, and lifestyle changes you can make to manage it.

If the cancer is more advanced, there will still likely be options for treatment and ways to control the symptoms. This will involve decisions from you as much as from you doctor, so you can find the right treatment and path forward for your specific circumstances.

Lung cancer treatments

There are many different types of treatment for lung cancer, and the type you receive will depend on your specific circumstances and the type of lung cancer you have. Your doctor and team of healthcare specialists will work with you to decide the best route forward in terms of treatment, and will offer the best options for successful outcomes. The decision on what to do will be up to you, but you’ll always have all the information and advice you need to make it.

Treatment depends on factors such as the size and location of the cancer, how advanced it is, the specific type you have, and your general health.

These are some of the most common treatments you could be offered:

Surgery

Surgery will generally be offered as an option for non-small-cell varieties of lung cancer that’s only present in one lung and hasn’t spread too far. There are three types of lung cancer surgery:

Wedge resection or segmentectomy – where a small section of lung is removed

Lobectomy – where one or more larger parts of the lung are removed

Pneumonectomy – where one entire lung is removed

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is generally offered to treat small-cell varieties of lung cancer, either on its own or with radiotherapy or after surgery to ensure all cancerous cells are destroyed and reduce the risk of it returning.

It may also be used to shrink a tumour before surgery, or slow the spread of lung cancer if other treatments aren’t an option.

Chemotherapy is usually done in cycles over 3 to 6 months, where you have chemotherapy over a few days between breaks of a few weeks.

Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy uses radiation to destroy cancer cells, and may be used along with chemotherapy and surgery, or on its own if surgery isn’t an option. This type of treatment is most often used for non-small-cell varieties of lung cancer, and can also be used to control symptoms.

Immunotherapy

This type of treatment involves medicines that help your immune system to attack and kill cancerous cells. The medicine is usually administered every 2 to 4 weeks via a tube into a vein in your arm or chest, with a session taking around 30 minutes to an hour.

Living with lung cancer

There are many ways in which lung cancer can affect your everyday life after you’ve been diagnosed and you’re undergoing treatment, or you’ve had successful treatment. These can be small annoyances or things that affect how you live your life.

There are physical things such as breathlessness or pain, which can make everyday activities harder or uncomfortable. These can usually be managed with advice from your medical professional so they can be controlled and minimised.

There’s also the emotional toll of being diagnosed with lung cancer, and even if you have successful treatment it’s natural to still feel anxious about it. People are able to cope with a cancer diagnosis in different ways, and it’s entirely natural to have feelings of sadness or anxiety. The best thing you can do is to be open and honest about your feelings with loved ones, and never be afraid to seek help. Talk to your GP and they’ll be able to provide the information you need.

Lung cancer treatment at Ramsay

Our private hospitals offer cancer screening, diagnostics, and treatments along with our teams of specialists who provide care and advice. If you have questions about lung cancer treatment at your local Ramsay hospital or you’d like to make an appointment, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.

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