Lung cancer is cancer that starts in your lungs. It is the second most common cancer in men and women. Lung cancer often takes many years to develop. Once lung cancer occurs, cancer cells can break away and spread to other parts of the body.
Lung cancer is a life-threatening disease because it often spreads before it is found. The good news is that there are more treatment choices than ever before. That means there’s more hope of living longer with cancer.
Your doctor uses a biopsy to tell the type of cancer you have. It’s likely you’ll need other tests to learn about how far the cancer has progressed, which is called the stage.
To decide the best treatment for you, your health care team needs to know as much as they can about your cancer. This may mean you need to get some tests. And it’s likely that you’ll work with more than one doctor or other types of health care professionals.
Your health care team will include a doctor who specializes in cancer called a medical oncologist and an oncology nurse. You may have other types of doctors and nurses on your team as well. This health care team will answer any questions you may have. And they will help you through each of the steps you’ll take before, during, and after treatment. Your team will let you know what tests are being done and the results of those tests. They’ll guide you in making treatment decisions.
Usually treatment for lung cancer begins a few weeks after a diagnosis so that you have time to get the tests your doctor needs you to have. You also have time to talk with your doctor about treatment choices. And you may want to get a second opinion. You’ll also have time to prepare yourself and your loved ones.
March 31, 2016
Foster, Sara, RN, MPH