I Have Been Diagnosed With Lung Cancer. What's Next?
Last updated: February 2023
A diagnosis of lung cancer can be extremely overwhelming. You may feel a wide range of emotions and wonder how your life will change. There will be many questions and choices to navigate immediately after a diagnosis. But there may be some simple things you can do to help lessen confusion.
Choose the best care team and treatment for you
There are many different treatment options available. It is important to find what works best for you. One of your first decisions will be where to seek treatment. There are large medical centers or smaller local physician's offices and medical centers.1
You may also want to seek a second opinion, or see another doctor before moving forward with treatment. Second opinions are routine after a cancer diagnosis. They are an important way to make sure you are comfortable with your care team and treatment plan.1
There will be a lot of new information discussed during your appointments. It can be confusing and tough to remember it all. It is important to ask questions to ensure you understand all that is happening.2
You may also want to consider bringing someone with you to appointments to help as a second set of ears. Keeping a running list of your questions and their answers is a great way to remember what you have discussed. Make sure to get the best contact information from your care team that you can use to ask questions between appointments.2
Find your support system
Friends and family members can provide much support after a cancer diagnosis. For those who do not have friends and family nearby, there are a variety of ways to find this support elsewhere.2,3
Oncology social workers can be an amazing resource to help you navigate this new diagnosis and find the help you need. Support groups, both in-person or online, can also be a way connect with others. Others may also turn to faith or spirituality to help them cope.1-3
Do not be afraid to express emotions
People can feel many different emotions after a lung cancer diagnosis. Shock, fear, anger, anxiety, and depression are all common. Do not be afraid to express these emotions. Talk to others about how you are feeling and find the support you need.1-3
Talk to your healthcare team about these emotions as well. Your doctors are concerned with your mental and emotional health in addition to your physical health. There may be treatments that can help you to feel better.1
Take advantage of resources and education
There are a variety of programs and resources available to people with lung cancer. Your healthcare team may know of local resources. We have also compiled a list of resources that may be useful.2
People cope with lung cancer in different ways, and you need to do what works best for you. It is important to know that you are not alone in your feelings or in your fight against cancer. What are some ways you cope? Share with the community here.
Beside manner matters! What has your experience been?