Getting a cancer diagnosis is a life changing event, but it doesn’t mean your life has to stop there. Thanks to new treatments and innovations in home healthcare, more and more people are living with lung cancer for longer, and surviving.
While new innovations in lung cancer research are helping doctors find the best treatment pathways for your diagnosis, you may be left reeling emotionally and considering the challenge of living with lung cancer for as long as you can, the best that you can.
Luckily, there is tons of support available from both your healthcare provider and the local community about dealing with the physical and emotional side effects of lung cancer treatment.
Firstly, it is important to address any physical concerns, such as making sure you have the right treatment plan in place, and that you discuss symptom management (such as pain or discomfort from the lung cancer itself or the treatment side effects). Your doctor and healthcare professional wants you to be as conformable as possible throughout your treatment journey, so be sure to inform them of any discomfort you may be experiencing or concerns you may have.
The emotional effect of receiving a diagnosis of lung cancer is complicated and different for everyone. Some people find themselves going through cycles of positivity and negativity, and some even experience self-blame for their diagnosis, or ‘survivors’ guilt’ when they beat the cancer into remission.
It’s important not to sit on such strong emotions and suffer in silence. Doing so may have a negative impact on your treatment experience. Reach out to your support network and find friends or relatives that you find you can talk to. Alternatively, your healthcare provider may be able to put you in touch with support groups and communities of other cancer patients and survivors for mutual support.
You can also access online social groups. Visit the American Lung Association, Lung Cancer Alliance and Lungevity to find out about online support groups that may be able to help you manage the daily challenges of cancer treatment and survival. This is a great option for people who want additional support but wish to remain anonymous.
Whatever you chose to do, it is important to take each day as it comes and ask for help and support when you need it. For more information about how we can support you or a loved one with lung cancer visit www.natcaf.org/who-we-help.