Five Things You Should Know About Lung Cancer

Lungs with cancerA lung cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming and confusing. Here are five things from the Patient Resource Cancer Guide from patientresource.com that you should know about lung cancer.

  1. Not all lung cancers are the same.  As with many cancers, lung cancer is not just one disease. Instead there are different types of lung cancer, classified according to the specific tissue in the lung in which they develop.  Determining the type of lung cancer and the stage of disease is important because treatment is determined according to the type and stage.
  2. You don’t have to smoke to get lung cancer. Although the overwhelming cause of lung cancer is smoking, not all people with lung cancer are smokers. In fact, the most common type of lung cancer — non-small cell (adenocarcinoma) — occurs most often in people who have never smoked. You may not have to smoke to get lung cancer, but if you do smoke, quit! Quitting is not easy and it may take several attempts before you’re successful, but you can get help from several resources. Ask your doctor or contact the South Dakota Quit line: 866-SD-Quits or 866-737-8487.
  3. Lung cancer treatment is getting personal. As research continues in cancer treatments, researches have learned more about how lung cancer develops. Researchers have determined that genetic abnormalities can be targets for newer types of drugs. The studying of genes is leading the way for personalized treatment of lung cancer: treatment is selected according to the specific characteristics of a person’s tumor.
  4. Side effects of treatment can be alleviated. Treatments for lung cancer may cause side effects, but many ways to manage side effects now exist. Talk to your doctor about potential side effects of your treatment options, and ask about ways to prevent these side effects. During treatment, tell your doctor or other health care professionals about your symptoms so they can be managed before they become severe.
  5. Take control. A diagnosis of lung cancer is overwhelming, and it is easy to feel as if your life is out of control. You have the power to overcome the challenges of lung cancer.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor about treatment options and to state your preferences.
  • Take good care of yourself by getting proper nutrition, exercise and sleep.
  • Do whatever it takes to help you heal and feel physically and emotionally healthy, whether it’s meditation, yoga, spiritual development or counseling.
  • Spend time with family and friends and be specific about what you need and don’t need from them.
  • Enjoy your favorite activities. Live every day to its fullest.

For more information on cancer care visit our Avera Cancer Institute online.

By Charlene Berke

Director of the Cancer Center at Avera Queen of Peace Hospital

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