Being told by the doctor that you have lung cancer is never easy for anyone. Yet, you are forced to face the reality soon – there are doctors to visit, treatments to choose from and so many other things to do. Here’s an article to help you know what to expect and the questions that you can ask your doctor about lung cancer.
Almost every adult has heard about lung cancer at least once in their lifetime. But more often than not, it becomes ‘real’ only after it strikes closer home and a loved one or ‘you’ has been diagnosed with lung cancer. However, diagnosis is the beginning of a period of hospital visits, treatment and results. The fight with cancer may seem very daunting, but it becomes a little bearable when you are not groping in the dark and you know what to expect when diagnosed with this type of cancer. The one thing you must have, more than the best doctors, treatments or loads of money, is hope. You need to have the will to live and a desire to fight against this cancer. So, without wasting any more time, fix a session with your doctor to ask him/her the most important questions on this type of cancer.
Questions to Ask your Doctor about Lung Cancer
To help you in this fight, given below are a few questions about this medical condition. Some of them might seem very harsh, but you have to face them to be able to fight effectively. You may talk/ask queries to your doctor about:
✔ Lung Cancer
✔ Types of Treatment
✔ Health Care Team
✔ Patient Involvement
✔ Resources and Support Staff
✔ Follow-up Procedure
✔ Post Treatment
- How common is this type and stage of cancer?
- What can you say about the prognosis (survival expectancy)?
- What stage of cancer are you in? What does it imply?
- What type of cancer do you have?
- What is the size of the tumor? Where is it?
- What are the factors influencing the progress of this cancer?
- What are the chances of cure and recovery after any treatment?
Effects of Treatment
- What is the success rate of this treatment?
- What are the side effects of this treatment (short-term and long-term)?
- What is the purpose of this treatment? (cure or containment?)
- How will the chosen treatment work?
- What are the risk factors involved?
- How will it affect my daily routine?
Duration and Success of Treatment
- What is the ideal recovery time for this treatment?
- Do I need to be hospitalized? If yes, for how long?
- How long will the treatment last?
- In case of therapy (radiation, chemotherapy and targeted), is it okay if I skip sessions?
- What kind of activities can I do during radiation therapy, chemotherapy or targeted therapy?
- Will the treatment chosen be given in combination with another?
- What kind of treatment will be used for me?
- What are the kinds of lung cancer treatment available?
- What are the pros and cons of treating this type of cancer?
- Why not any other treatment?
- What medications will I have to take before, during and after the treatment?
- Are there any alternative treatments available?
Lung Cancer Surgery (Segmental Resection or Wedge Resection, Pneumonectomy, Lobectomy)
- How complicated is the surgical procedure?
- Will I have breathing problems because of surgery?
- What type of surgery will be performed on me? Why?
- Will a portion of my lungs or lymph nodes be removed? How much?
- What effect will this surgery have on my bodily functions?
- Will the surgery leave any permanent scars?
Radiation Therapy (Systemic Radiation Therapy, Internal Radiation or Brachytherapy, External Beam Radiation)
- What effect will radiation therapy have on my sex drive and fertility?
- Will radiation therapy harm my body? How much?
- How often will I have to undergo radiation therapy?
- How does radiation therapy work?
- What type of radiation therapy will I be given?
- How does radiation therapy feel?
- How much time will each radiation therapy session take?
- Is there anything that can be done to reduce the side effects of radiation therapy?
- Will I be able to go home after a radiation therapy session?
Chemotherapy and Targeted Therapy
- Can I undergo chemotherapy at home?
- How will chemotherapy or targeted therapy benefit me?
- What will be the frequency and duration of the therapy sessions?
- What drugs will I be exposed to?
- Where will I have to go for the therapy sessions?
- How will the chemotherapy or targeted therapy feel?
- Will I need help while returning from the therapy session?
Clinical Trials (Experimental Treatments)
- How much time will I have to give for clinical trial?
- Where will I have to go for the clinical trial treatments?
- Are experimental treatments very risky?
- Do I have to take any more tests?
- What are the clinical trials available?
- Which of these will suit my condition best?
- Do clinical trials cost less?
- How do I know that a clinical trial is authentic?
- Do I have to make any commitment for this treatment?
- What will the clinical trial entail?
(Medical Oncologist, Pulmonologist, Radiation Oncologist, Thoracic Surgeon, etc.)
- Who will explain the treatment procedure and its effects?
- Who will be my point of contact during the treatment?
- How much experience do they have?
- Who will be there in the team of doctors treating me?
- How many successful treatments have they given before?
- Where and how often can I contact the doctors involved in my treatment?
- Who will monitor the progress and treatment?
- What should I do and what should I avoid doing?
- Can I take dietary supplements or alternative medicines?
- Whom should I ask for assistance to understand the lab reports?
- How much control do I have over the treatment?
- What effect will it have on my daily life?
- Do I have to pay all the expenses at one time?
- What are the consultation fees of the doctors who are in charge of my treatment?
- How much will the medications cost?
- How much will the treatment cost?
- What are the hospital charges?
- Will my health insurance be accepted? (Name it.)
- Can I receive assistance if I am unable, or find it difficult, to bear the expenses of the treatment?
- From where can I get more information about my diagnosis?
- Will I be able to discuss my fears, hopes and meet others suffering with this condition?
- What assistance and support is available for my loved ones?
- In case anything happens to me, is there any help available for my loved ones?
- What can I do to aid in recovery from the treatment?
- How often do I come for a checkup?
- What kind of pain relief medication can I take without consulting the oncologist?
- Do you have options for transitional care, if I need it?
- How much time do I need to wait before resuming my daily routine?
- What are the chances of cancer recurring after treatment?
- How long will the side effects of the treatment last?
- How will I know that the treatment has been effective?
- For what symptoms should I contact the oncologist immediately?
- Is there any medication or other requirements I need to follow?
- How can I reduce the side effects of the treatment?
- If the treatment fails, what are my options?