Patients in the final stage of lung cancer have aggravated health complications like blood in sputum, respiratory difficulties even after slight exertion, etc. As a family member or caregiver of a patient suffering from the last stage of lung cancer, it is important to learn how to deal with it.
Last Stage of Lung Cancer
The final stage is when the cancer cells have spread to both the lungs. Some patients notice that the cancer has spread to other vital body organs, for example, liver, kidney, etc. In some patients, there is fluid collection around the lung or the heart. This fluid contains cancerous cells. Such a condition is also referred to as malignant pleural effusion or pericardial effusion. When there is a lot of pleural effusion, it is impossible for the lungs to expand fully while breathing and this makes the person breathless. If the cells in the pleural effusion contain cancer cells, it is called malignant pleural effusion.
How to Deal with the Last Stage of Lung Cancer?
Very often, the patient and the caregiver question, 'Why is that they have to go through this?' However, it is important to understand that there are many patients who are suffering from it and their caregivers and family members are taking care of these patients. Joining a cancer support group should be considered. This will help you know how the others are dealing with this dreadful disease.
The final stage is usually a stage when all methods of treatment have been tried and none of the remedies seem to help. It is, therefore, important to treat the symptoms rather than trying to eliminate the tumor. Pain management should be the priority as very often, cancer can cause pain in the least expected areas. Often, it has been noted that arthritic pain is the most common kind of pain experienced during this stage. You can consult your oncologist about this, and he can help set up palliative care so that you are able to spend quality time with your near and dear ones.
Alternative cancer treatments can be tried in this period. These medicines might not cure the cancer, but they can give some respite from the pain. Every patient reacts differently to these alternative therapies. Just one positive response can go a long way in adding days, months, or even years to your life. Immunotherapy, vitamin supplements, etc., can provide the necessary strength and vitality.
By now, your oncologist or your physician has probably asked you to stop smoking and your family members have forced you as well. Along with that, it is important that your diet is healthy, and you provide your body with all the important nutrients required. Going for walks in the mornings and/or evenings, undertaking some exercise regime, etc., will also be of immense help to you in fighting the last stage symptoms.
For some patients, spirituality has helped a lot. Meditation, reading motivational books, etc., will motivate you to be positive and optimistic. Spirituality will provide you with the much-needed solace. Your faith will give you strength to deal with the disease. All you could do to the cancerous growth was to treat it, and you have already undergone the treatment. Let the 'supreme power' that's watching us, do the rest.
It is important that you keep your loved ones in the loop. They are also suffering even if you feel they do not understand the pain that you are going through. The pain they are experiencing is a different kind of pain. You can tell them how you would like to spend your last days. You should not lose hope as the last thing they want is you losing hope. Your loved ones may give their inputs, and you should welcome their suggestions. It is just their way of showing you that they are actually concerned about your well-being. This will also give them a chance to deal with their grief.
In the final stages, "the ultimate truth of life" is hovering near. Therefore, the patient and his dear ones should take each other into confidence so that they are able to cope better with the situation. After all, each one of us has to face the ultimate truth in life, what matters is how you lived and not how long you did.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.