Lung Cancer: Treatment Questions

Talking with healthcare providers about cancer can be overwhelming. It can be hard to take in all of the information. It helps to be prepared. Make a list of questions and bring them to your appointments. Write the answers down. Make sure you ask how treatment will change your daily life, including your diet, and how you will look and feel after treatment. Ask how successful the treatment is expected to be, and what the risks and possible side effects are. You may also want to ask a friend or family member to go with you. They can take notes, write down the answers, and also ask questions you may not think of. You can also ask your healthcare provider if you can record the conversation.

Here are some questions you may want to ask during your appointments.

Deciding on a treatment

  • What kind of lung cancer do I have?

  • Where is the cancer? Has it spread beyond the lung?

  • What's the stage of my cancer? What does that mean?

  • Do I need any more tests before we decide on treatment?

  • What are my treatment choices? 

  • What treatment do you think is best for me? Why?

  • What are the goals of treatment?

  • What is the success rate of each treatment for my type and stage of lung cancer?

  • What is the average life expectancy for someone with my stage of cancer getting treatment?

  • How much experience do you have treating cancers like mine?

  • Should I get a second opinion? 

  • Are there any clinical trials I should look into?

  • Will my health insurance cover treatment? How much will I have to pay?

Getting ready for treatment

  • How soon do I need to start treatment?

  • What should I do to get ready for treatment?

  • How will treatment affect my everyday life? Will I be able to work, go to school, take care of my family?

  • Will treatment affect my fertility? My sex life?

  • Will there be any limits on what I can do?

  • What is the length of the treatment period?

  • How long will each treatment take?

  • Where do I have to go for the treatment?

  • Who will give me the treatment?

  • Does someone need to go with me during treatments?

  • Will I be able to drive myself or take public transportation to treatment? Is there someone who can help me with transportation problems?

  • Can I take my other medicines during treatment?

  • Can you help me quit smoking?

  • Do you have someone on staff who can help me with financial concerns and other resources?

Coping during treatment

  • How will I feel during and after the treatment?

  • What side effects can I expect?

  • How long will side effects last?

  • Will there be side effects I need to call you about?

  • What number do I call? After office hours? On weekends or holidays?

  • What can I do to ease the side effects?

  • How will we know if treatment is working?

  • Will I be able to go to work and be around my family?

  • Should I change my diet? What foods can’t I eat?

  • Are there support groups nearby or online that I can join?

After treatment

  • How will I feel after the treatment?

  • Are there any limits on what I can do?

  • What type of follow-up will I need after treatment?

  • How will we know if treatment worked?

  • What are the chances the cancer will come back?

  • What are my choices if the treatment doesn't work or the cancer comes back?

  • What long-term side effects should I watch for?

Making a decision

When you have answers from your healthcare provider, it’s time to think about your preferences. Think about what side effects you can and can’t handle. Talk about all of your concerns with your provider before making a decision about treatment. You may also want to get input from your family and friends.

Online Medical Reviewer: Jessica Gotwals RN BSN MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: Rita Sather RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Todd Gersten MD
Date Last Reviewed: 7/1/2023
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