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alart clock ringing with lungs on the face

Do I Think About Having Lung Cancer Every Day?

A good friend of mine asked me a little while ago if I think about the fact that I have lung cancer every day. I had to stop for a minute in order to figure out my answer to this question.

Not at the front of my mind

I finally decided that while I DO think about lung cancer every day, I don’t think about actually having lung cancer myself every day. That sounds strange, right? Well, I am very involved in advocacy work, so rarely a day goes by when I don’t have a conference call, email or text message related to some aspect of lung cancer.

However, I don’t wake up every morning thinking about the fact that I have lung cancer anymore. I certainly did when I was first diagnosed! But as the years have passed, I have somehow managed to get used to the fact that my own personal lung cancer situation is part of my life and will always be part of my life, but isn’t always my biggest concern every day.

Fitting cancer into my to-do list

It definitely helps that I feel well, and have for the majority of my almost five years living with lung cancer to date. But the concerns of daily life living with a husband, two teenage boys, and most recently, a 5-year old shih-tzu dog, often take priority. I have many other things to think/worry about — Where are the boys? Are they out past curfew? Are they doing their homework? Is my older son working on his college applications? Does the dog need to be walked? Do I have to cook dinner tonight? The list goes on!

Worry and scanxiety

That isn’t to say that I never think about or worry about having lung cancer. I often have fleeting thoughts, especially when people mention an event in the future, wondering if I will still be around for it. I also cannot help thinking about my own fate whenever a member of the lung cancer community passes away. These fleeting thoughts become more and more common as I approach a scan date, finally turning into full fledged scanxiety a few days prior to my quarterly scans. That’s when I start to worry the most about my scans showing progression.

However, on a day-to-day basis, I have managed to put my lung cancer in its place as part of my life, but not the most important part. I know not everyone loves using the term “survivor” and I’ve written about this in the past, but I truly feel like I am a survivor of lung cancer because I am able to continue with my life while living with lung cancer.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo moderator
    9 months ago

    Lovely piece Ivy! I don’t see the problem with the words survivor or journey, as it truly is for those facing this new experience. Despite everything you’re going through life does continue, and you making an effort to fit lung cancer around your life, and not fit your life around lung cancer, as wonderful!

  • pageone
    9 months ago

    I was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer almost a year ago. In the beginning I did think about having cancer everyday. But as time went on it changed. I don’t think about the cancer everyday. I think about other things. Went back to my painting class, picked my cross stitch again. Bought a good cookbook and started cooking again. Sometimes when things get difficult I go to a group. Of course my family’s support is the most important.

  • Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo moderator
    9 months ago

    @pageone, I’m happy that you have moved along in your day to day, despite living with lung cancer. It’s not easy, but going about with things you enjoy brings about some comfort.I wish you continued success in your treatment. Best!

  • jdpatraw
    9 months ago

    Very nice article. That rings true with my thoughts too.

  • penelope
    11 months ago

    Hello Ivy. I too seem to mainly get caught up in cancer anxiety a few days before scans. I look at a good result or best that can be for stage four as a door that has flung open on three more months of going about the process of Living!

  • Sunny
    12 months ago

    I can really identify with you in this. It’s been 8 years this month since my diagnosis as stage IV adeno. A little over 2 years since the end of my treatment and it does get easier to live with it. Sometimes whole days will go by without a thought of it. But….then I’ll remember and my heart will beat a bit faster for a few minuets and I’ll breath deeply and continue on with my life.

  • PeteConaty
    12 months ago

    I used to think of myself as a
    Survivor for a long time. A year &1/2 in fact, minus 3/4 of my left lung. Then it moved to my brain. The good doctors then told me it’s now stage 4. In and out of the hospital to many times. No there’s not a day I don’t think of living with cancer.

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