What to Expect
Thanks to the medical advances in lung cancer, more and more people are surviving it each year. From the time to you are diagnosed to when you are finished treatment probably felt like a whirlwind with very little time to think about, what happens next?
Some commons concerns are “How often will I have to go to the doctor?”, “How do I know if my cancer has come back?”, “How do I deal with my new life?”, and “What can I expect?”
You can expect you might experience side effects that last a while
You may have some symptoms that take longer to heal or might last a lifetime. Some people may experience a late effect. A late effect is a side effect from treatment that occurs months or years after a diagnosis of cancer. Some cancer treatments can make you prone to some health issues or make your current health issues worse. Luckily there are many ways to help alleviate side effects. This is something to discuss with your doctor.
You can expect to have to continue to go to the doctor for checkups
Before your last appointment, ask your doctor for an “end of treatment summary” that outlines the original diagnosis (the cancer type and stage) as well as the treatments received. It should also clearly state the proposed schedule for follow-up visits and recommended testing to monitor the person's recovery.
You can expect to feel a variety of emotions
You can learn to cope with these emotions by:
- communicating with your friends and family members
- writing in a journal to help you express your thoughts
- asking advice from a support group
- seeking the help and guidance of a counselor, therapist or spiritual leader.
You can expect that some of your relationships will change
It is normal to feel like:
- nobody understands you
- some relationships feel closer and some more distant
- you need something different out of your relationships
- people treat you differently than you hoped or expected
You can expect to make lifestyle changes that keep you healthy
Quitting smoking, eating right, staying physically active and managing your stress helps your body stay healthy.
See the Staying Healthy section for more information.