Decision on Treatments
Last updated: April 2023
I’ve been asked by newly diagnosed lung cancer patients how did I decide on my treatments. This is a good question because these newly diagnosed patients are lost, scared, and really don’t know anything about lung cancer and treatments option. They have asked me “Did you google about treatments or rely on your oncologist?” I tell them both.
At first, my husband helped me decide on my lung cancer treatments
When I was first diagnosed, it was such a total shock that I couldn’t think at that moment about treatment. But I knew my husband, and I had homework to do. Since I was under so much stress from the news, my husband went to work and started his research.
There are so many lung cancer treatment options
This is where we learned about biomarker testing and the different gene mutations. We knew that if I had one of those gene mutations, I could take a targeted therapy pill.
We also learned about immunotherapy, proton therapy and of course traditional chemotherapy and radiation. We were familiar about chemotherapy and radiation because both our fathers had cancer and went through it. My mother also was diagnosed with larynx cancer and had radiation. But we knew my treatment would be more challenging.
My first bronchoscopy
When I was diagnosed we did ask about biomarker testing and they were already one step ahead of us. I was scheduled for a bronchoscopy to get tissue to test it for a gene mutation.
Now that was a challenge and I had to have a few bronchoscopy procedures done for them to get the right amount of tissue to get it tested. Finally, they were able to get enough after so many tries. But it took 6 weeks before I got my results. In the meantime I had to start chemo and radiation, and that went on for 6 weeks.
Chemotherapy and radiation
Before I started chemo and radiation, I talked with my oncologist and radiation oncologist about side effects. I needed to know and understand what I was up against and prepare myself, but my husband and I also googled the chemotherapy I was going to have. I didn’t want to do chemo or radiation, but the results for the biomarker testing was going to take 6 weeks. We needed to start on some type of treatment.
It was not an easy journey
I am a part of my own care team
Now I’m on targeted therapy, and I still rely on my oncologist to help me make the right choices for my treatment. I still google it for the different side effects. I try to keep a list of side effects I’ve had and write down new ones that pops up. I also make sure to share them with my oncologist and pharmacist.
So, just make sure to discuss any treatment plan or new treatment with your oncologist and team Also, I learned it’s ok to google your treatment, and you and your oncologist can sit down and discuss it. Educate yourself and be your own advocate.
What healthy habits do you use to improve the quality of your life?